Ohio Optical Dispensers Board Warns of Dangers of Over the Counter Contact Lenses
October 19, 2015 - 11:57 AM
Attorney General Mike DeWine, The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness,
and the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board today warned consumers about the
dangers of wearing decorative contact lenses without a valid
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.”
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.
Manns, Executive Director of the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board, says,
“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.”
added, “At this time of year, when costume shops start to proliferate,
it’s important for anyone who knows where illegal dispensing or selling
of contact lenses is occurring to notify the Optical Dispensers Board.
The Board will accept anonymous reports.”
lenses can cause eye pain, bacterial infections, and corneal ulcers.
One study found that wearing decorative lenses increased the risk for
developing keratitis, a potentially blinding infection that causes an
ulcer in the eye. This increased risk was over 16 times more likely than
those seen in vision correcting (“regular”) lenses.
may want to look like your favorite movie star or have a unique look
for Halloween, but choosing to change the look of your eyes with contact
lenses could cause a lot of damage to your eyesight if you do not get
them without a prescription from your eye care professional. While these
decorative contact lenses can add a fun flourish to a costume, they can
also result in devastating eye infections, scarring and even
blindness,” said Sherry Williams, President and CEO of The Ohio
Affiliate of Prevent Blindness.
seen many young patients who were not aware of the dangers of these
products and are now living with permanent vision loss,” said Thomas L.
Steinemann, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve
University/MetroHealth Medical Center and a Prevent Blindness volunteer.
“Parents should be on the alert to protect their children’s vision by
assuring that their contact lenses are worn only under the supervision
of an eye doctor.”
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.
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.
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.
General DeWine encourages Ohioans to report illegal sales of contact
lenses to the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board at 614-466-9709. As a U.S.
senator, DeWine sponsored the legislation that requires consumers to
obtain a prescription from a licensed professional to purchase contact
lenses, including corrective and non-corrective lenses.
Images, courtesy of Dr. Thomas L. Steinemann, of serious eye injuries caused by illegally sold lenses (photo 1; photo 2) and an image, courtesy of the FDA, of an unauthorized cosmetic contact lens display, are available on the Ohio Attorney General's website.
You don't have permmission to comment, or comments have been turned off for this article.