Ready for the Halloween? If you have decorative contact lenses to complete your look, you might want to discard them. Improperly sized and poorly cleaned decorative contacts may lead to scratched cornea, decreased vision, infection, or even blindness, warn several government agencies in the United States, as part of its "Operation Double Vision" program.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Customs and Border Protection are working hand in hand to confiscate counterfeit decorative lenses and lenses that did not get the approval of the FDA.
The said agencies are warning the public from buying decorative lenses and contact lenses from novelty shops, beauty supply shops salons, or online stores that do not require prescription.
"Even though Halloween approaches, consumers shouldn't let a good deal or great costume blind them to the dangers of counterfeit decorative contact lenses. What's truly scary is the damage these counterfeit lenses can do to your eyes for a lifetime, said HSI Executive Associate Director James Dinkins, in a press statement.
Authorities are reminding consumers that it is illegal to buy contact lenses without prescription. They also reiterated the presence of "The Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act" that gives people the right to get a copy of their prescription so they can get their contact lenses from the professional or business of their choice.
"Contact lenses are a medical device and it is smart to purchase them from a medical professional who will fit them to your eye and provide you with instruction on the use and care of the lenses. Consumers who buy lenses that were manufactured and sold illegally can experience infections, corneal ulcers and even blindness. A lifetime of good vision is so much more important than a cheap Halloween accessory," said Dr. Glenda Brown of the Georgia Optometric Association.
Experts suggest that people who want to get colored contact lenses should consult a licensed eye doctor. An eye exam will be done and the eye doctor will give consumers a valid prescription, lens measurements, and a suggested brand name. Aside from this, consumers should only buy from reputable suppliers who require prescriptions and follow the directions for wearing, cleaning, and disinfecting the contact lenses.