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Fashion Contact Lenses Can be Dangerous

by on June 5, 2012 » Add the first comment.

Commentary About Defective Contact Lenses

If you have ever wanted to try a new look by changing your eye color with cosmetic lenses you may want to think twice!  In Arkansas, six vendors have been fined across the state in the past year for illegally selling contact lenses without a prescription. In fact, just last month a 33 year-old-female patient was treated for a rare but serious corneal infection that threatens to leave permanent damage to her eye. She didn’t know that she should take the lenses out and clean them each night because they were purchased from a Hot Springs convenience store and sold without a prescription.

United States federal law requires that all contact lenses, even those without corrective lens power, that are worn purely for cosmetic reasons, cannot be sold or purchased without a valid contact lens prescription written by a licensed eye care provider. This means that contact lenses, sometimes known as “theatrical lenses” sold without a prescription at gas stations, party stores, or costume stores, are sold illegally. Congress enacted a rule in 2005, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 301-399, to state that all contact lenses, including non-corrective, decorative (“plano”) contact lenses, are restricted medical devices so that sellers may only sell lenses in accordance with a contact lens prescription for the patient that is presented to the seller or verified by direct communication with the prescriber.  

According to the Food and Drug Administration, improperly fitted contact lenses do not allow oxygen to reach your eye causing irritation and infection or even abrasions which can cause irreversible damage. Illegal over the counter lenses can also carry carcinogens or other toxins. Because buyers are not given proper instruction from a medical professional, they often fail to clean the lenses properly and will wear them without taking them out for weeks at a time.

In 2011 the FTC required three internet marketers to stop selling “Circle” cosmetic contact lenses without prescriptions or keeping adequate records. Still, local gas stations, flea markets, convenience stores, nail salons and other shops market non-prescriptive over-the-counter lenses for those who wish to change their eye color. The Board of Optometry can fine sellers who are found guilty of illegal sales at least $1,000. The rules and regulations are in place to make the market place safe and reliable for consumers.

Any cosmetic product that is not FDA approved can be dangerous. If you have questions regarding a defective product that caused you an injury, please call me for a free no obligation consultation. I will do my best to help you.

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