Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Circle Lens Issue

A lot of people have been bashing circle lenses lately-- and its really frustrating!!

Circle lenses are cosmetic accessories as well as medical devices. They have as much of a chance in making you blind or get an eye infection as any other contacts out in the market. Anything that comes in contact with your eyes have a potential of causing eye damage. If a person gets eye damage or not depends on how they take care of their lenses and their eyes.

I also want to point out that several facts expressed in the NY Times article is actually not true.
"... [circle lenses] make the eyes appear larger because they cover not just the iris, as normal lenses do, but also part of the whites"
The quote above, for example, is not absolutely true. Although there are 14.2, 14.5, and 14.8mm lenses available, most circle lenses are 14.0mm-- the exact same size as most (with the exception of Astigmatism Lenses) prescribed contact lenses in the US. My Acuvue Oasys prescribed lenses, and Acuvue Color 2 lenses are both 14.0mm. And you know what? If you have prescribed contacts and do not have Astigmatism, you probably wear 14.0mm prescribed lenses as well!! In fact, most people who don't have astigmatism lenses wear 14.0mm contact lenses. That's the exact same size as the majority of circle lenses! Circle lenses makes the eyes appear larger because the colored part of the lenses extend to almost the edge of the lens while regular colored contacts have a thick CLEAR outer rim. Refer to the images below:

Above: GEO Angel Brown (14.0mm lenses)
Notice the very small clear outer rim (if you can see it)
Picture from: Diary of a Shopaholic

Above: Acuvue Colors 2 Contacts
Notice that the lenses have a very thick CLEAR outer rim
Picture from: Acuvue.com

Fact: Most circle lenses are the same size regular contact lenses.

But don't get me wrong, there are larger circle lenses! And its true that larger circle lenses cover the whites of the eyes. And yes, this does block some oxygen from reaching your eyes. But there is a reason why so many people say that you should only wear circle lenses for around 6-8 hours! This is especially true for larger lenses! This is also true for normal contacts. If you wear your normal color contacts for over a certain amount of time, it will get dry, and your eyes will be lacking the oxygen it needs. Its just that because normal contacts are smaller in comparison to super sized circle lenses, it allows more oxygen to reach your eyes and that's why you can wear it for a longer period of time. Obviously if you wear super size circle lenses, you should take precautions in how long you wear them for. As long as you don't wear circle lenses for such an extended period of time, there is no reason why your eyes should have a oxygen deficit.


"...no major maker of contact lenses in the United States currently sells circle lenses"
Above is another excerpt from the NY Times article. Yet again, more so than the previous quote, this statement is FALSE.
Have you heard of Acuvue? Well I'm pretty sure you have! Acuvue makes Acuvue Oasys, the #1 Optometrist recommended prescribed contact lenses in the US. I have it, and most contact wearers have it. And guess what? Acuvue have a circle lens line!

1-Day Acuvue Define, it is called. It is a one day wear circle lens.
No major maker of contact lenses in the US? Wrong. Acuvue is a giant when it comes to contact lenses in the US.


"Karen Riley, a spokeswoman for the F.D.A., was a bit surprised... she did not know what circle lenses were or the extent to which they had caught on."
Though this might be true that Ms. Riley do not know what circle lenses are and etc, I just want to mention that GEO Medical (Korean Cosmetic Contacts Company, and the larger distributor of circle lenses in the US) is registered with the F.D.A. In fact, they were registered in 2004.
Reference link: http://geo21eye.com/index.html?subz=01&stepz=03
'nuff said.


"...shipments to the United States are illegal"
I am not positive about this, but I am pretty sure companies like GEO and EOS have secured trading rights/shipping rights in the US. Otherwise the company themselves would not have sent me their lenses. And I doubt that the two most prestigious Korean Companies would smuggle lenses in. I have also contacted other foreign cosmetic contacts companies inquiring for information about their lenses and on retail, but when I told them that I am from the US, they specifically told me that they weren't allowed to/unable to sell/distribute their products to the US. I doubt big companies like GEO, EOS, G&G, Debuea, etc. smuggled in lenses. But I might be wrong on this one (but I'm pretty sure I am right).


The article also goes on to say that Lady GaGa invented the "big eye" trend. FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE!!!! Totally NOT TRUE!!! Circle lenses have been popular in Korea and Japan WAYYY before her. And most Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese etc. celebrities have been wearing circle lenses since the hype started sometimes 4 years ago. I have not heard any problems with people wearing circle lenses since this whole chaos was started by NY Times.
But seriously-- if celebrities are willing to wear circle lenses, would they be dangerous? After all celebrities have enough money to buy "better" contacts from the US. And if it were true that circle lenses were bad, they probably would. But you know what? They didn't! GEO even designed several lenses (such as Ash Wing, Nudy Brown etc.) for celebrities (Japanese celebrities to be exact)!


I also want to say that although many circle lenses are not FDA approved, they ARE KFDA approved or approved by other associations like the FDA. If they weren't approved at all, you wouldn't see these lenses sold anywhere. ALSO that's why authenticity with circle lenses are such a big deal! If circle lenses were bad for you, whats the point of worrying over whether or not they are authentic? The thing is, KFDA approved circle lenses claims the circle lenses are safe to be worn by South Koreans. Does it have to be FDA approved to say a product is safe or not? Does all beauty products from foreign countries have to be approved by the FDA to be considered safe to use? No. Its not like the FDA have a better judgment than the KFDA and US Standards are not exactly the best either. Did you know that there are ingredients allowed in US products that are carcinogenic and are banned from European countries? Yeah... FDA approved...


And then there is the whole thing the article mentioned about being vain.How exactly does wearing circle lenses make you vain? Its a cosmetic accessory. Its like wearing false lashes! How can people compare circle lenses with being vain?? They want to enhance their looks, no? Is that a crime? People are getting surgeries left and right, but wearing circle lenses is vain? Would you rather have teens get plastic surgery for larger eyes? Wearing circle lenses is like wearing makeup. It is a personal choice.


Again, I would like to repeat that as long as the circle lens user take care in caring for their lenses and eyes by properly storing and cleaning then, there should be no problems caused to the eyes. Only those who improperly care for them will have damage to their eyes (but those people would probably give blame to circle lenses). I've know people who wears circle lenses everyday for years now and their eyes are FINE. NY Times claims circle lenses are bad for the eyes, yet they fail to mention any specific occurrences of eye damage, infection, blindness, etc. The article is a news article. It is Yellow journalism. It is not a scientific article. There are no statistics mentioned to prove the claim they are making.


Last additional points:
-Big eye trend did NOT start because of Lady Gaga
-Most circle lenses are the SAME size as contacts in the US
-Contacts should definitely be required to be fitted if you have astigmatism/your eyes have special needs. Otherwise most people wear regular 14.0mm lenses with a base curve of 8.2-8.8 without any issues (same category circle lenses falls in).
-Circle lenses cost $20-$30. Prescribed lenses cost over $40 (and they are mostly 2 week disposible). A doctor prescription cost over $60. (Some people say the article is a money making hoax)
-Circle lens shipments to the US is not illegal but selling them in the US currently is.
-GEO circle lenses are registered with the FDA though not FDA approved. It is KFDA approved.
-Circle lenses are safe to use upon good practices in storing and cleaning
-Acuvue makes circle lenses (MAJOR COMPANY!!)
-Circle lenses have been worn in Asian for YEARS!
- The article published in The New York Times is  one-sided.


I know that my views are probably bias because I am a circle lens wear and retailer, but I try to get as much fact across as possible. I want to mention all the key points the NY Times article mentioned and address them because I don't think they are entirely true.

If there are any mistakes or any incoherent facts, please tell me! =]

Another great blog reply on the article is: http://www.slate.com/id/2259817

4 comments:

  1. I stumbled upon this post when looking up KFDA info in circle lenses. I have to completely agree with you. I've seen them talk about this on Dr.Oz and The Doctors TV shows, it seems like not a one person does their research on this before calling them unsafe. It's really starting to bug me.

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  2. doctors should be more complacent about new stuff.. when i got my circle lenses *nudy* they hurt my eyes as hell and i had an original product :/, but some ppl tried the lenses and said that those were actually more confortable than the lenses they had * acuvue and others*
    so i went to a doctor becuz i wanted to know if the material of the lenses were bad or something <_>), BASICALLY the doc bashed the lenses, saying i shouldnt buy lenses from net and blablabla, she didnt even wanted to have a look, its something she never saw before :/ she should have looked at it right! anyway, she measured my eye and the base curve and with the prescription i went to look the colored lenses they had on the lab :o, my eye base curve is 8.2, but NONE of the 8.2 lenses were good for me, just like the circle lenses they scratched my eye :o, i went to the 8.5mm and it was perfect! * SO, if the lenses is going to fit or not its a matter of luck o-o) even the attendant at the lenses shop said that, you have to try it, because what really matter is if it is confortable to you.

    (huge post but, what i wanted to say is, doctors should be more open to new stuff, they should study it before talking shit, you know what?! because lots of ppl dont giv a shit and use it anyway, so to prevent ppl from hurting themselfs there should be a real study and an official statement of the quality of the new product, pros and cons. saying ´´dont do it cuz i dont know about this product`` wont help :p

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  3. I thought it was stupid of people to say that everyone is following lady gaga's trend, she probably got it from being into asian fashion trends lol. But yes, my theory is that since circle lenses are cheaper and last up to a year AND they come in prescription, doctors in the US say that they're bad because they don't want to lose business. If people find out that there's a cheaper alternative AND in pretty colors, of course, they're probably gonna go for the circle lenses.

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  4. I agree. I care about my eyes, and have done research all about the circle lenses. I found them to be completely safe. GEO is probably the most worn contact brand in Korea. If there were any problems, I'm sure they would come up already.
    & I agree with the Lady Gaga fact. All I can see is biasness towards American Artists. I never even knew Lady Gaga "influenced" girls to buy circle lenses. I'm a hundred percent sure girls were influenced by asian fashion, as I was.

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