Eyecare Professionals and Organizations Warn Consumers About Decorative Contact Lenses for Halloween
|October 17, 2012 12:21 AM
NEW YORK—As Halloween approaches, the
American Optometric Association (AOA),
Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) join various optical organizations in cautioning consumers about the dangers of decorative contact lenses. Among the numerous warnings against non-corrective, over-the-counter costume lenses are that they are often improperly sized, are not FDA-approved and may cause serious infections or permanent vision loss in wearers.
As stated on the AAO’s
eyeSmart website, as of 2005 all contact lenses are FDA-regulated medical devices intended to be administered by eyecare professionals. Websites and retailers that claim colored contacts are cosmetics or fashion accessories are exhibiting false advertising and are distributing lenses that pose serious risks to eye health.
"Consumers need to know that permanent eye damage can occur from using non-prescription circle lenses," said AAO clinical correspondent, Thomas Steinemann, MD. "Personally, I have seen far too many serious cases in both children and adults from using decorative lenses.”
According to the AOA’s 2012 American Eye-Q consumer survey, 18 percent of Americans purchase non-corrective lenses, 28 percent of whom report doing so illegally, or without a prescription from an eye doctor.
"There is no such thing as a 'one size fits all' contact lens," said Randall Fuerst, OD, chair of the AOA's Contact Lens and Cornea Section. "Consumers who purchase lenses illegally, without a prescription or without consultation from an eye doctor, put themselves at risk for serious bacterial infections, allergic reactions, or even significant damage to the eye's ability to function, with the potential for irreversible sight loss."
The organizations, along with the FDA, instruct that consumers avoid purchasing contact lenses from Halloween stores, novelty stores, beauty supply stores or via the Internet, unless sites require a prescription to purchase. All recommend making an appointment with an eye doctor to obtain a valid prescription that includes brand name, lens measurements and an expiration date.
For more information on contact lens safety, visit the AAO
newsroom, the FDA
consumer site or the AOA’s “Do’s and Don’ts”
To reach customer service, please call (800) 825-4696.
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