Colored Contacts: Good for Your Costume, Bad For Your Eyes

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Scary eye contacts may complete your costume, but they're putting your vision at risk.

Contact lenses are regulated by the FDA as medical devices and can't be sold whether for cosmetic reasons or vision correction without a prescription from a licensed professional.

These tiny accessories can cause a lot of damage.

Optometrist Greg Marrow sells a lot of color contacts for cosmetic reasons.

He said they are a medical device, much like a pace maker, "If they aren't taken care of, if they aren't fit properly and worn properly, then there's a good chance that something's going to come back and bite you, and it could be in terms of an infection, an inflammation, or something as serious as an ulcer."

When buying these Halloween contacts without seeing a doctor, you put yourself at a major risk.

"A dry lens, one that hasn't been properly stored, can cause fungal infections, bacterial infections, so there's not even just the fit that's the problem." said Marrow, "These scary contacts are available at places as simple as a local gas station, without a prescription, making them illegal."

A lot of companies that are making lenses overseas are getting them approved by the FDA: the materials haven't been approved, the plastics are sub-par, and the dyes are not meant to be inside the eye.

Marrow said unfortunately this kind of eye-wear is all too common.

28 percent of lenses that are bought online or in novelty shops without prescriptions are illegal.

$20 for illegal contacts may turn into $2,000 for vision correction.

Marrow also said some of the lenses are alerting for Homeland Security.

An operation called Double Vision has investigators trying to get a hold of counterfeit and illegal contacts.

However, there is a safe option, colored contacts that are prescribed by doctors.


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