"A poor-fitting lens can result in numerous contact lens complications," warned the Professional Board for Optometry and Dispensing Opticians, which falls under HPCSA.
Chairwoman Vanessa Moodley said such complications were often not easily noticed by the person wearing lenses until the condition was very advanced.
The sale of contact lenses by unqualified people was becoming more common, she said.
Contact lenses are medical devices
"As contact lenses are medical devices, registered optometrists and ophthalmologists are the only people allowed to dispense and sell them, and patients must not purchase them from any other person.
The HPSCA said vendors were distributing coloured lenses as "mere cosmetic devices" and encouraging dangerous practices such as over-wearing or the swopping of lenses.
"Swopping of lenses poses a danger of transmitting viruses or bacteria," Moodley said.
Many can’t wear lenses
As contact lenses were not suitable for use by many individuals, a practitioner has to conduct various tests and take measurements to determine if a patient is suitable.
However, this was not the case if one dealt with an unregistered person, said Moodley.
The HPCSA urged anyone who had purchased lenses from an unregistered or unqualified person to report the illegal activity to the HPCSA or to the police. – (Sapa)