Preventing Halloween Eye Infections with Ophthalmology EMR
With Halloween less than two weeks away, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has issued its yearly warning about decorative, non-prescription contact lenses. Patients who buy and wear one-size-fits-all lenses without consulting an eye specialist can develop eye infections, ulcers and even permanent vision loss. Though physicians have tools, such as ophthalmology EMR software, at their disposal to treat contact lens-related injuries, it is still important for patients to be aware of the risks associated with using special effect eye enhancements.
Before deciding to purchase over the counter lenses, the AAO recommends that patients:
- Get an eye exam from an optometrist or ophthalmologist and request a contact lens prescription. If you do not currently have a regular eye doctor, ask your primary care provider to refer you to one. In order to wear contact lenses, it is important that they be fitted to the size and shape of your eye.
- Purchase lenses from a licensed eye care retailer. Though lenses that are not properly fitted to the eye are illegal to sell in the U.S., some retailers may get away with doing so. To make sure that the lenses you purchased passes federal regulations, play it safe and buy them from an authorized retailer.
- Follow directions for proper use, cleaning and disinfecting. If you are having trouble remembering instructions for contact lens care, use your physician’s patient portal to send them a secure message. Many ophthalmology EMR systems also include educational materials, which patients can access through the online portal.
- Receive a follow-up exam after wearing decorative lenses. Patients who are not accustomed to wearing contact lenses but want to wear them for a special occasion, such as Halloween, should see their eye doctor for a follow-up exam. The ophthalmologist will examine the patient’s eye, document findings in their EMR and perhaps even suggest a treatment plan for continuous monitoring.
While dressing up for Halloween can be a lot of fun, and wearing special effect lenses that make the human eyes look like those of a vampire, cat or lizard can really set a costume apart, patients need to be aware of the consequences of wearing poorly fitted lenses. Doing so can lead to conjunctivitis, corneal abrasions, ulcers and permanent blindness – and that’s something that even the best costume isn’t worth.