In recent years, contact lenses are used not only as a means of correcting eyesight, but also as a fashion element as colored lenses, also known as circle lenses, gained worldwide popularity for their iris enlarging effects which give the illusion of bigger, brighter eyes.

An article from ETToday suggests that the annual sales of circle lenses in China exceeds one hundred million pieces. Where there is demand, there is supply, but it’s no secret that Chinese manufacturers do not have a good track record where quality and hygiene standards matter. In an attempt to find out if circle lenses are safe for everyday wear, one Chinese news channel put the contact lenses to the test, however not on human subjects but on rabbits, enraging many animal lovers online.

Anyone who uses contact lenses should know that wearing contacts for extended periods of time is not good for the eyes. Although the tiny lenses bring a great deal of convenience to people with less than perfect eyesight, they come with risks of eye infections and corneal injury, and in severe cases may even lead to blindness, if they are not worn or cleaned properly. The recommended usage duration may vary with the individual and the type of lenses, but as a general rule of the thumb, you should always remove the contacts at the end of the day before hitting the sack.

In order to find out how safe the circle lenses available on the market are for continuous wear, Chinese news channel CCTV ran lab tests on several types of circle lenses purchased locally. They tested a total of four types of contacts – weekly, monthly and six-monthly disposable circle lenses, and six-monthly disposable clear lenses. The doctor who led the tests explained that rabbits were used as their eyes are large and extremely round, making them suitable test subjects.



As a rabbit owner, I already felt like throwing something at my monitor at this point, but wait, there’s more! Not only did they make the rabbits wear contact lenses meant for humans, the poor furry buns had the lenses in their eyes for ten consecutive days without removal. By the fifth day, the test subjects had already started showing signs of infection and blood-shot eyes. The journalist asks if there is a possibility that the eye inflammation was caused by environmental factors, to which the doctor ensures that the ventilation and air quality in the room is kept at optimum levels by filtering the air.



▼ Test subject with obviously larger and darker iris after putting in the circle lens.6546998075326464

▼ At the end of the observation period, the doctors checked the rabbits for corneal injury and irritation, and eye dryness.

▼ All four types of contacts tested showed signs of abrasion on the cornea, among which one particular brand caused severe corneal damage.

Cross sections of the circle lenses also revealed that two out of the three tested brands had the color pigments printed on the inner curve of the lens, which is the surface that comes directly into contact with the eye. This causes even more damage as the cornea would be exposed to physical abrasion and possible chemical reactions caused by the pigments, which could erode the cornea.

▼ Cross section of a colored contact shows that the pigment is on the outermost layer of the inner surface.

Such breaking news! Great, now we know that wearing contact lenses continuously for extended periods of time can damage our eyes! Wait, we already knew that. Apparently so did the numerous individuals online, who left comments such as:

“Did they have to run tests to know if extended wear without removing the lenses harms the eyes? Isn’t that general knowledge?”

“What the…”

“Please test products meant for humans on humans. Are they gonna test electric dog collars on humans?”

“Even the best quality contact lenses would damage the eye with such extended usage. This is a stupid experiment.”

It looks like someone didn’t get the optician’s note regarding the side effects of prolonged usage of contact lenses. If any human damages their eye because they bought cheap contacts from unlicensed sources, or because they didn’t heed the optician’s advice, or because they have poor hygiene habits, it’s their own fault.

Was there a need to test the obvious on animals? No. Am I the only one who is furious that they damaged the eyes of the rabbits for the sake of a lacklustre attempt at creating news? Probably not. What are your thoughts on this matter? Share your views in the comments section below while I go sob a bucket of tears for the poor bunnies.

Source: ETToday
Images: news.cntv.cn