By Michael Hutton 

Improve eyesight  by avoiding one of Lady Gaga's recent fashion initiatives is the advice being offered by optical experts. Wearing coloured circle contact lenses which make the eyes look bigger - as used by Lady Gaga in her video for the song ‘Bad Romance' - has prompted many of her followers to take up wearing them which has led to warnings about the potential dangers associated with such lenses. Circle lenses have proved to be especially popular with teenage girls and young women and come in a variety of colours such as bright pink and red. They can be bought from foreign websites for around £20 without an eye examination or a prescription.

The lenses achieve their effect by covering part of the white area of the eye - the sclera - which ophthalmologists warn could cause allergies, scarring and infection, risking blindness. Dr James Salz, an ophthalmology professor at the University of Southern California and a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology told The Chicago Tribune: "There are bound to be complications from the way they're being dispensed. Kids are going online and buying them like they're an earring or a nose ring. They're not being fitted and all eyes aren't the same shape; some have steeper curves of the cornea and some eyes are larger or smaller." So even though the lenses may work as a fashion accessory they will not improve eyesight  - more likely the reverse applies.

A key concern given the size of the lenses and the lack of any prior examination by an optical professional is that they may fit too tightly thereby decreasing the amount of oxygen reaching the eye. This could lead to sight-threatening complications such as abnormal blood vessel growth in the cornea through the line of sight which could cause permanent vision impairment. Other potential problems included allergic reactions, corneal ulcers and corneal scarring. Dr Assumpta Madu, from the Montefiore Medical Center in New York, said: "There literally is potential for somebody to lose their vision within 24 hours from an infection." For teenagers whose vision is still developing, the desire to copy their idol may mean that rather than improve eyesight  - or at least how their eyes look - they may end up with a serious and possibly sight-threatening condition.

Check if you are suitable for overnight corrective contact lenses .

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