FDA Issues Warning About Colored Contacts

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Halloween is this week and the FDA is warning about the dangers of colored contact lenses.

Tim Williams has more.

Over-the-counter colored contact lenses are considered Halloween fun for your eyes.

“They ask for them all the time because they’re a really cool way to change your appearance without doing too much makeup or anything else,  just popping a contact in,” said Susanna Bethke, Artistic Costumes.

Artistic Costumes in Towson joins a growing number of shops refusing to sell the contacts.

“We just tell them that they have to go see their eye doctor,” Bethke said.

“You can buy them in flea markets, in beauty salons and things like that,” said Dr. Ryan Beveridge, an optometrist. “And it’s actually illegal to sell contacts without a prescription.”

Experts warn that colored contacts are medical devices and not regulated by the FDA. Improper fit can lead to scratches on the cornea.

“The main problem can occur is if people sleep in the lenses and the abrasion occurs overnight, while they’re sleeping. Bacteria gets in the eye and they wake up in the morning in a lot of pain, but the damage has already been done,” Beveridge said.

Artistic Costumes is one shop that does not sell the contacts because the profit did not outweigh the health concern.

“I could have made a lot of money, but I decided that I didn’t want to be responsible if somebody hurt their eye or got eye infections. It just wasn’t worth it,” said Harriet Krents.

If you still want to wear the decorative lenses, the FDA recommends getting a professional eye exam and a prescription.

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