Sochi Olympics – Athlete Grete Gaim’s Novelty Contact Lenses Could Blind Her

Written by Janelle Lawrence

On February 10, 2014


Stop! Are Those Prescription?

Stop! Are Those Prescription?

The Sochi Olympics are now underway and you’re probably tuning in to watch your favorite sport and cheer on America for the gold. If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the games, you may have noticed something unusual about 20-year-old Estonian biathlete, Grete Gaim.

For no apparent reason other than expressing a little personality, she has been spotted wearing striking bright blue novelty contact lenses. The young athlete looks a bit reminiscent of Katy Perry in the video for ET: Extraterrestrial.

Although Grete Gaim’s novelty contact lenses may make her a notable figure in the Sochi Olympic games, they could make sure she never competes again. Studies have shown decorative lenses worn without a prescription can cause vision complications and even blindness.

Novelty Contact Lenses Can Make You Go Blind

Here are the most common eye problems associated with these lenses:

  • Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, more commonly-known as “pink eye”, is one of the most common eye infections. Pink eye is characterized by redness and swelling of the mucous membrane that lines your eyelid and the surface of your eye. It is often caused by bacteria but can also be brought on by a severe allergic reaction to a novelty contact lens.

  • Keratitis

Keratitis is inflammation of the cornea of your eye and can cause you to experience great pain. This often happens when your decorative contact lens slips or breaks apart in your eye, leading to a scratch on your cornea. Infectious karatitis can progress very rapidly, causing complete vision loss in as little as 24 hours if left untreated. In extreme cases, one or both eyes may be lost.

  • Corneal Scarring

Permanent corneal scarring is another risk of wearing decorative contact lenses. Once your cornea has been scratched and a scar develops, you will have decreased vision in that eye.

Avoid Eye Damage from Decorative Contact Lenses

Just because the contact lenses you’re wearing are for decorative purposes only, doesn’t mean they are safe to wear. Contact lenses are meant for prescription use because each person’s eye is shaped differently. Lenses that do not fit properly will slide around in your eye, irritating it, and possibly scratching and/or cutting it.

If you want to change your eye color or create an interesting affect, avoid purchasing them online or in novelty shops. Book an appointment with an eye professional who can correctly fit you for the lenses and help you choose the best type for your eyes.

It’s also important to take into consideration the current health of your eyes. If you don’t wear glasses or corrective lenses now, chances are, you don’t get your eyes checked regularly and wouldn’t know if there are any hidden problems. Wearing novelty lenses purchased online or from a novelty store could worsen whatever problem you have and greatly increase your chances of going blind.

When you watch the Sochi Olympics, admire the athletes for their skill and their style but resist the temptation to put your eyes at risk. Investing in the care of a good ophthalmologist can help you design your new look safely so your vision remains clear and healthy for a lifetime.

Speaking of Eyes, Did You Know Your Eye Make-Up Could Give You Cancer?

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