Young people were warned against the prolonged wearing of a popular type of cosmetic contact lens, after a junior-high school student in Greater Kaohsiung sustained ocular damage after using the lenses excessively.
The student, a 14-year-old girl, received emergency treatment, but still suffered impaired vision after she wore “dolly eye” contact lenses — as they are commonly known — (娃娃鏡片) for more than eight hours.
The lenses are designed to make the eye’s iris appear larger, giving the user what proponents consider a more beautiful, “doll-like” appearance.
Available in various colors, the contacts are currently a popular trend among young people in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.
However, the case in Greater Kaohsiung has prompted doctors to caution against using the cosmetic lenses.
The teenaged student’s first symptoms were a sharp pain in her right eye and light sensitivity. After wearing the lenses for two more days, her vision became blurry and she went to the hospital to have her eyes checked.
Kuo Ming-tse (郭明澤), resident ophthalmologist at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, said that an examination of the girl’s eyes with a fine gap light microscope revealed that she had suffered an abrasion to her cornea, where a cankerous sore had also developed. The wound and the sore had started to fester, resulting in white spots in the girl’s cornea.
Lab results showed that the right eye was infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, Kuo added.
Kuo cleaned the abrasion and treated the student with antibiotics for three days.
Although the infection and cankerous sore were treated, they left a scar on her cornea that impaired her vision significantly.
Compared with prescriptive contact lenses, the dolly eye variety have an extra layer of coloring and a lower oxygen content, Kuo said.
“This makes them prone to dehydrating the eyes, causing oxygen deficiency in the cornea and other problems. People must be very careful when wearing them to avoid damaging their eyes,” he said.
“People should not wear them for more than four hours at a time. The lenses should be cleaned regularly, to prevent bacteria growth,” he added. “When any discomfort occurs, the individual should seek medical treatment right away.”