Think twice about buying contact lenses online

Medical devices, General safety, Medical devices

Contact lens manufacturers must comply with strict processes and conditions to ensure the safety and quality of their products. This is necessary as contact lenses are placed directly onto the surface of the eye, an exposed and fragile part of our bodies.

In Singapore, the Optometrists and Opticians Board (OOB) under the Ministry of Health requires all contact lenses (powered or non-powered) to be prescribed and dispensed by registered optometrists or contact lens practitioners. In addition, contact lenses with refractive power, which are classified as medical devices, must be registered with HSA.

Contact lenses bought online

While it is easy to buy attractive and cheap contact lenses online and have them delivered directly to you, non-authorised sellers cannot fully guarantee the safety and quality of their products. You may end up with way more than you bargained for.

The risks are high when buying online contact lenses from dubious or unknown sources without consulting optometrists or contact lens practitioners. Buying and using these unreliable items can lead to eye infections, corneal ulcers, or even blindness.

Any amount of money saved is not worth the irreversible harm to your vision. Avoid dubious or unknown sources and always buy your contact lenses from licensed vendors.

Consider this

Hoping to save money without considering the dangers of unreliable contact lens sources, a 17-year-old teenager bought a pair of coloured contact lenses online in 2011. The teenager soon developed an infection in one of her eyes.

The teenager experienced pain and redness that was serious enough that she needed to be admitted to hospital. She was fortunate to have recovered after treatment with antibiotics and corticosteroids, as the infection she suffered could have led to blindness if not treated in time.

Play it safe

Online sources may be cheaper or carry a wider range of contact lenses than brick-and-mortar stores, but they lack the assurance of safety and quality. In addition, eye checks are necessary for proper fitting of contact lenses. See a qualified optometrist or contact lens practice optician when you intend to use a new line of contact lenses.

Consult a healthcare professional promptly if you suffer from the following upon using contact lenses (even if you have followed good contact lens hygiene):

  • Severe eye irritation
  • Redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Unusual discomfort