FDA Warns Of Risks With Decorative Contact Lenses

Probably my second-most favorite decorative contact lenses look

Some people probably think that decorative contact lenses are stupid, and rightfully so. Some of them are just ridiculous (that person looks like they have a LifeSaver in their eye). But I guess beauty is literally in the eye of the beholder, and with Halloween right around the corner, I am definitely not against those who want to dress up with some spooky eyes. I’ve never worn any, but I’ve imagined that I would look pretty cool with a pair of those pitch black contacts (Oh, yeah. That’s the stuff).

While these lenses can be fun, what can go overlooked, according to the Food and Drug Administration, is that people should get a prescription for all contacts, including the decorative ones even though they don’t improve your vision. These decorative contacts are not “one size fits all” and buying a pair that are a poor fit for your eyes can cause long-lasting or permanent damage, such as scratches to the cornea, corneal infection, conjunctivitis, decreased vision, and even blindness.

“The problem isn’t with the decorative contacts themselves,” said Bernard Lepri, an optometrist at the FDA.  “It’s the way people use them improperly — without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care.”

The FDA recommends that each person interested in buying decorative contacts first get an eye exam from a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist, no matter if you think your vision is perfect. Get a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and an expiration date. Take the proper steps when it comes to cleaning and wearing the lenses, and get a hold of your doctor right away if you see or feel signs of an eye infection.

So before the fun starts and you let your inhibitions go out the window on Halloween night, make sure to play it safe when it comes to decorative contact lenses.

More Than 300 People Now Ill, 23 Dead, Due To Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

The New England Compounding Center packaged and marketed the tainted steroids and other drugs that have contributed to more than 20 deaths. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Presented without comment.

According to NBC News, the total number of people who have become ill after injecting tainted steroids that came from a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts topped 300 on Tuesday. Specifically, 308 people have been infected, 304 of which have contracted meningitis, stroke or other nervous system problems. Twenty-three people have died.

People in 17 states have now been infected, and that list of states could grow since, according to the Food and Drug Administration, nearly 14,000 patients may have received contaminated steroid injections since May 21 produced by the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass.

On Monday, the FDA posted on its website a list of more than 1,200 hospitals and clinics that had purchased steroids and other drugs from the compounding center that, if contaminated, would be especially dangerous for patients.

Although the death toll has held steady for the last few days, a Centers for Disease Control spokesman told NBC News that it was “Too early to say” if that is a sign that the outbreak is becoming more and more under control.

As of Tuesday, 70 of the cases have come out of Tennessee, according to the CDC. Michigan has had the second-most cases with 68.

Possible HIV preventive drug

Finally, there is a positive step in prevention for HIV/AIDS on the horizon. There is a pending FDA vote on whether they will approve Truvada medication as a preventive treatment for healthy people who are at high risk through sexual intercourse. Currently there are no other drugs have been approved to prevent HIV infection. Since Truvada has been already in the market as part of a cocktail drug therapy for those already HIV infected, the pharmaceutical company would be able to advertise it as a preventive drug if the FDA approves it as such, which means more profit. What’s at stake is the health of the people if the drug is unaffordable for those at high risk in a lower economic status.

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High-fructose corn syrup taking a cue from frivolous musicians?

Odd, sure. But just like a famous musician would change his name to reinvent himself (à la Diddy) or a shamed athlete would change his jersey number (à la Kobe), the carbohydrate formerly known as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has taken their cue and changed its name to “corn sugar.”

The Corn Refiners Association, which represents firms that make the syrup, has been trying to improve the image of the infamous sweetener with ad campaigns promoting it as a natural ingredient made from corn. This week the group petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to start calling the ingredient “corn sugar,” arguing that a name change is the only way to clear up consumer confusion about the product. I wonder if this also has anything to do with their sales being at a 20-year low? The Corn Refiners Association have recently tried to drive a new point home — that unlike regular sugar, HFCS drives profitability for members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and fulfills non-food roles in the following ways:
• Maintains freshness in condiments
• Enhances fruit & spice flavors in marinades
• Aids in fermentation for breads and yogurts
• Retains moisture in breakfast bars & cereals
• Makes high fiber baked goods and cereals palatable
• Maintains consistent flavors in beverages
• Keeps ingredients evenly mixed in salad dressings

Does this mean we should all be running out to the corner store to grab this magical liquid sweetener?

Not quite, says Marion Nestle, a professor in New York University’s department of nutrition and a longtime food industry critic. She says that the plural “corn sugars” is a better description of high-fructose corn syrup, which is actually a mixture of glucose and fructose.

Gosh, what is a food consumer to do now? Are we accurate when we call HFCS the new trans-fat, the new food item that everyone should stay away from as though it were a matter of life and death? Most leading scientists and nutrition experts say no — they agree that in terms of health, the effect of high-fructose corn syrup is the same as regular sugar, and, of course, that too much of either ingredient is bad for your health.

Bottom line: everything in moderation, kids.

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