Writter／HSIN-ZHU WU（吳馨竹）、HAI-TANG LIN（林海棠）、SI-YA WU（吳斯雅）、YEE-YUNG CHEUNG（張綺容）
Yu Jia-Hsin, conscious about her countenance, was enticed to wear colored contact lenses and for long hours, but only weeks later her eyes were swollen with bloods, being diagnosed with conjunctivitis. The good-looking, 18-year-old college girl decided aftermath to shun from them after the scary experience.
An increasing number of people—especially of the younger generation—prefer contact lenses to the glasses. These 20-something or so care much about their appearance: they want themselves to look good and attractive at a good cost. Some of them turn to colored contact lenses for their wowing cosmetic effects.
But optical doctors have warned of harms from inappropriate uses; in particular, it is advised not to wear longer than eight hours a day and be removed when sleeping.
Eyes problems shouldn’t be ignored
Contact lenses are very popular among young generations across the country and beyond. Including China , where similar problems are also occur.
Last year, in an annual routine optical examination by a Zhejiang’s hospital, more than 900 out of the 1,300 newly enrolled college students were found suffering from myopia. According to the hospital’s report, half of the nearsighted students wore contact lenses, most of which either dark brown or black.
Moreover, some 10 percent of the contacts-wearing students were hurt by conjunctivitis, corneal angiogenesis and other eye diseases. Doctors say poor hygiene related to contacts cleaning and using at showering or swimming are the main reasons to blame.
The most popular contacts offered in the store are of Korean small-diameter ones, the owner said, adding that not every user fits that style though as some feel uncomfortable. But they keep coming back for them simply because they look stylish.
Xiao-xuan 22, a longtime contact wearer, said, “The main consideration of choosing a particular brand and style is its aesthetics and price. The moister-rich contacts are too expensive for the youngsters. As a result, they can only purchase the less expensive. “
She added that she occasionally wears the daily disposable for two days to save some money, but it always becomes less comfortable or even causes discomfort the next day.
“Once, when I was about to reuse the contact lenses, I discovered some blue powder left in the case. I was worried that the powder would corrode my eyes and I immediately discard them.”
Yi-wen, a 21-year-old choir member at Shih Hsin University, said that she carries her contacts all the time for convenience of her work. Price being not a factor, she always chooses the better quality but more expensive ones. She said, “I sometimes rehearse late into the night or in the early hours of the night, there is very little time for me to carefully clean the contacts and usually soak them in the care solution or in saline.”
This habit is inappropriate and can even lead to harms. Chou said contacts can only be effectively cleaned and maintained by carefully rubbing 20 times every night.
“Wearing daily disposable contact lenses repeatedly is like drinking expired milk, which may not cause very severe discomfort immediately, but will cause long-term risks,” he added. According to Chou, for those who are unwilling to spend time cleaning contact lenses, daily disposables are the best choice.
Concerning the reuse of contacts lenses, Li Xiao Ming, an ophthalmologic doctor at People’s Hospital of Jilin Province, warns of its risk. “Obviously, daily disposables are designed to use for one day. In fact, the contacts have been damaged after the use though they look the same as before.”
Safer ways to maximize the preventive benefits of contacts
Not everyone is in favor of contact lenses. Ge-fei, a nearsighted student at Shih Hsin University, said that she has never used contact lenses. “Well, I’ve once tried to wear contacts, but it failed, she said, laughing. “Maybe my eyes are too small to put them on.”
But as young girls become increasingly more concerned about their appearance, many wear contacts almost on a daily basis. Contacts appear to become a necessity for athletes, protecting them from eye injuries from wearing regular glasses.
Contact lenses made of silicone hydrogel have become a vogue. Zhong Hui Juan, an ophthalmologic doctor at the Taipei City Hospital’s ZhongHsing branch, said that it is trendy that a lot of people around the world are now wearing hydrogel or silicone-hydrogel-made contact lenses.
According to Zhong, however, it may cause eye discomfort or irritation due to its lower-water content. Nevertheless, its higher oxygen permeability protects cornea better. In general, hydrogel, the traditional material, offers better comfortableness with higher water content, which however is not suitable for those with dry eyes in that the material would absorb eye moisture after a while. According to the National Health Insurance Administration Ministry of Health and Welfare, the population with dry eye in Taiwan continues to increase at a rate of 10% per year.
Zhong suggested that the choice of the type of contacts hinges upon the situation present. “If you just go for exercise for two hours, it doesn’t matter how much the water content is,” Zhong pointed out. “However, if you suffer from any dry-eye syndrome or if you wanted to wear it for a long while it is better to choose one made of silicone hydrogel.”
How to wear contact lenses in a safer way to maximize the preventive benefits of contact lenses?
“I did not have much time to do the makeup during the secondary school. But, shortly after I started my college life, I found that wearing contacts helps change my image,” Jia-Hsin said. “But I think health is more important than the image, and now I seldom wear the contacts unless it’s necessary.”
Contact lenses are like roses with thorns，they are beautiful but you have to be careful or you will get hurt. However， it can’t stop us from appreciating beauty and art, as long as the users treat it correctly, they can show our beauty to the greatest extent.