Beware of fake contact lenses sold in Halloween stores

Posted at 9:16 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 23:30:48-04

If you were planning to add scary eyes to your Halloween costume with decorative contact lenses, think again. 

Federal authorities have seized around 100,000 pairs of fake contact lenses illegally sold at retail outlets and online. They have high levels of bacteria in them that can cause eye infections, impaired vision and conjunctivitis.

"You'd never buy a new hip at a flea market and you should never buy a medical device like contact lenses at one either," said Georgia Optometric Association President Dr. Ben Casella. "If you're not careful, one night of using knock-off lenses to change your appearance can mean a permanent change in your ability to see for the rest of your life."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Food and Drug Administration and Customs and Border Protection are working together to eliminate the illegal contact lenses from sale. In the meantime, if you want contact lenses, go to your eye doctor.

"A valid prescription helps ensure consumers get contact lenses that are determined to be safe and effective by the FDA. Without it, people can risk serious eye injuries or loss of eyesight for one night of fun," said George M. Karavetsos, Director, FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations. "We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who attempt to circumvent the regulatory process and put the public's health at risk."

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