Harrisburg —The Pennsylvania departments of Health and State today warned that decorative or cosmetic contact lenses sold without a prescription can pose a serious health risk. Such lenses are popular during the Halloween season.
The joint warning notes that federal and state law requires prescriptions for contact lenses. If contacts are not obtained with a prescription from a properly trained and licensed health care professional, they can be dangerous.
"Contacts sold without a prescription at flea markets, costume shops, beauty salons, online and other places can cause serious damage to your eyes from improper fit," said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Eli N. Avila. "Every eye has its own unique shape and curvature, and many of these decorative lenses lack proper instruction for use."
Contact lenses that are improperly fitted or used can cause the loss of an eye, blindness, impaired vision, corneal damage, infection and allergic reactions.
"Decorative or cosmetic lenses are considered medical devices under federal law, and are legally marketed as prescription devices," said Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele, whose department licenses both physicians and optometrists in Pennsylvania. "The Pennsylvania Optometric Practice and Licensure Act requires a prescription by a licensed physician or optometrist for the fitting of a contact lens."
Dr. Avila urged parents to heed this warning, and consult a physician or optometrist if a child wants to wear a cosmetic or decorative contact lens.
For more information, visit www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH