October 31, 2013

Dressing up for Halloween might include wearing fashionable contact lenses, but Better Business Bureau serving Northeast Louisiana warns consumers that buying decorative contact lenses over-the-counter is illegal and can seriously damage eyesight.

Decorative contact lenses—also known as fashion contact lenses— are often times sold in beauty stores, Halloween shops, flea markets, convenience stores and on the Internet. However, decorative lenses are not for cosmetic use and should never be purchased over-the-counter. In fact, a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration consumer update clearly defines contact lenses as medical devices, making it against the law for vendors to advertise or sell decorative contact lenses without prescriptions.

Before spending cash on last minute costume accessories, BBB reminds consumers to check the following:

  • See eye doctors. Ophthalmologists and optometrists can measure eyes to properly fit lenses; poor-fitting lenses can cause serious eye damage, including scratches, infections and even blindness.
  • Look for valid prescriptions. Make sure that prescriptions include brand names, lens measurements and expiration dates.
  • Observe directions. Make sure to clean, disinfect and wear lenses correctly and responsibly.
  • Watch for problems. Seek doctors immediately if there are signs of possible infections, like redness, eye pain that doesn’t go away or decreases in vision.

Be sure to use to find an accredited business that legally sells eyewear, accessories and costumes.