COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness and the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board, Monday warned consumers about the dangers of wearing decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription.
“To be worn safely, decorative contacts should be sold with a prescription and dispensed by a licensed professional, even if they’re just part of your Halloween costume,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We’re encouraging all Ohioans to be careful this Halloween and not take any chances with their eyesight.”
Legally, all contact lenses, including cosmetic or plano (no power) lenses, must be purchased with a prescription, but some cosmetic contacts are sold illegally online or in costume stores, tattoo parlors, beauty supply stores, gas stations, convenience stores, or thrift stores, according to DeWine.
Nancy Manns, Executive Director of the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board, said costume shops start to pop this time of year across Ohio and consumers should alert the Optical Dispensers Board if they know of any illegal sales of lenses. Tips can be made anonymously to the board.
“Illegal dispensing of cosmetic contact lenses remains a serious health problem, especially among teens, who may be lured into purchasing cosmetic contact lenses with the promise that they will ‘stand out’ among their friends because they are wearing color-changing or wild costume lenses. Little do they know that they may stand out for other reasons—perhaps because they have lost vision in an eye as a result of an infection from improper fitting contact lenses.”
Prevent Blindness offers the following safety tips regarding cosmetic contact lenses:
- Always visit a licensed eye care professional to be fitted for cosmetic contact lenses.
- Never buy contact lenses without a prescription.
- Always clean and disinfect contact lenses according to instructions.
- Always use water-soluble cosmetics or those labeled safe for use with contact lenses. Do not apply skin creams or moisturizers too close to the eyes.
- Never wear opaque lenses if you have any problems with night vision.
- Never share or trade your contact lenses with anyone.
- Seek medical attention right away and remove your contact lenses if your eyes are red, have ongoing pain or discharge. Be watchful about your children’s or teens’ appearance. If they are wearing cosmetic contacts, question them about where they obtained them.
Illegal sales of contact lenses can be reported to the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board at (614)-466-9709.