Purpose: To identify the microbiological profile and evaluate the clinical course and outcomes in patients who developed severe infectious keratitis after colored cosmetic contact lens wear.
Methods: This case series includes 13 patients who developed severe infectious keratitis after colored cosmetic contact lens wear. A detailed history regarding contact lens availability and storage and handling techniques was taken. All patients underwent standard diagnostic microbiological evaluation followed by culture-guided topical antimicrobial therapy.
Results: Of 13 patients, 8 were male and 5 were female, with mean age at presentation of 19 ± 3.8 years. All patients were emmetropic, and lenses were worn solely for cosmetic purposes. Seven lenses were dispensed without prescription or fitting from an unlicensed optical shop, 5 patients had shared lenses with friends/relatives, and 1 patient obtained the lens from the garbage. None of the patients followed the recommended contact lens handling and storage techniques. The causative microorganisms included Pseudomonas aeruginosa (54%), Staphylococcus aureus (25%), and Staphylococcus epidermidis (17%), with 1 case of viral keratitis. In 62% of cases, ulcer size was ≥5 × 5 mm and posttreatment corrected visual acuity was 6/24 or less. All patients responded well to topical antimicrobials, and none required surgical intervention.
Conclusions: Over-the-counter use of decorative lenses as a cosmetic aid is rapidly increasing. Easy and unmonitored availability of these cosmetic lenses is followed by severe sight-threatening complications in young emmetropic individuals.