23-Year-Old Went Blind In One Eye After Using Coloured Contact Lenses 6 years ago

23-Year-Old Went Blind In One Eye After Using Coloured Contact Lenses

After buying colour contacts in a gas station back in 2010, Julian Hamlin went blind in one eye.

Speaking to Buzzfeed Life, the South Carolina native said that he bought the contacts without prescription for $15.


Julian said that a number of beauty outlets and gas stations sold them at the time and that many teenagers in his area purchased the contacts.

The 23-year-old wore them on a daily basis and said he disinfected them after use and bought new lenses regularly.

However, after wearing the same type of contacts for two years, Julian started to suffer from a severe eye infection in 2012.

"It was so out the blue. … I just woke up and my eye felt weird, so I went to the doctor, but he thought it was pinkeye" said Julian.


Three days later, Julian went to hospital after developing a corneal ulcer and this led to him suffering blindness in his left eye.


He later developed glaucoma due to increased eye pressure and this meant he needed a permanent eye stint to drain the fluid from his eye.

Since then, Julian has had 15 surgeries, including seven corneal transplants, and described it as "a long and painful journey".


"My left eye is completely blurry, it’s been a big transition. I’ve had to miss so many days of work, and I can’t lift anything over 25 pounds because it increases the pressure in my eyes, so I’m limited in my jobs" he continued.

Thomas Steinemann, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and professor of ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve told BuzzFeed Life that many of the coloured contacts sold in drug stores aren't FDA approved.

“Many of these illegal lenses are cheaply made overseas from older materials and they are not FDA-approved for sale in the United States".

“There is no difference between corrective and costume lenses, they all need to be fitted to your eye by a qualified eye care professional who can write a prescription" said Steinemann.


Images via Julian Hamlin