AOA, FDA and Hollywood Campaign Warns of Risk from Decorative Contact Lenses

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LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), American Optometric Association (AOA) and the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) have teamed with entertainment industry-leading artists from the TV series American Horror Story on a first-of-its-kind Decorative Contact Lens Campaign to bring the dramatic realities of illegal and unsafe lens use to the forefront.

Often called “decorative,” “fashion,” or “cosplay” lenses, these contacts change the appearance of the eyes to give them a vampire, cat, white-out, or alternate color “look.” Used often in Hollywood characters from X-Men to American Horror Story, and reality shows like FaceOff, eye-changing lenses create certain character traits or appearances that, in some instances, become iconic and sought-after “looks” by fans.

“The purpose of this important public health campaign is to raise awareness, especially among American youth and their parents, of the severe consequences that can result from purchasing and using decorative contact lenses that are not obtained through a valid prescription,” said Helene Clayton-Jeter, OD, health programs coordinator, U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

The premier of the first public service announcement in the series will be held April 22 at the 18th Annual PRISM Awards in Los Angeles. It features Cristina Patterson, a contact lens painter for top movies and TV shows. The first national viewing will occur at the National Cable & Telecommunications Cable Show in Los Angeles, April 30, at which time the 30 second PSA will be available for viewing and sharing at EICnetwork.tv, along with additional content. A longer three-minute version will subsequently be released.

“We are looking forward to spreading the message of contact lens safety far and wide, and value the contributions of the media and federal officials, to support this important mission. This is only the beginning. The second video in the series will be featured at our national conference in June and we’ll be consistently reinforcing the campaign message year-round,” Michael Duenas, OD, AOA’s chief public health officer stated.

View previously reported alerts and warnings about the potential dangers of unauthorized cosmetic content lens use on VisionMonday.com.