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FDA Warns: Do Not Buy Halloween Colored Contacts

Update Date: Oct 24, 2013 10:43 AM EDT
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In one week, people of all ages will leave their normal clothes in their closets and dress up for Halloween. This holiday, celebrated by a lot of people, is a time where children and adults get to be whatever they want. Although most of times the costumes people pick are safe to wear, this year, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning regarding illegal colored contacts that can be purchased without prescriptions. These contacts, which come in red or white, can cause eye conditions and even blindness.

"Even though Halloween approaches, consumers shouldn't let a good deal or great costume bling them to the dangers of counterfeit decorative contact lenses," the executive associate director of the Homeland Security Investigations, James Dinkins said according to UPI. "What's truly scary is the damage these counterfeit lenses can do to your eyes for a lifetime."

According to the officials from the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they are in the midst of an investigation, "Operation Double Vision," to seize these counterfeit contact lenses. The contact lenses are illegally entering the U.S. and have not been approved by the FDA.

One of the problems officials have with these contacts is access. Customers can get illegal contacts very easily and at reduced prices. Illegal vendors will sell the products without asking for a prescription written by an ophthalmologist, optometrist or a licensed optician under the supervision of an eye doctor. The officials stressed that even though buying illegal colored contact lenses might be easy, jeopardizing one's eyesight is not worth it.

"Our concern is that consumers who buy and use decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription can run significant risks of eye injuries, including blindness," the director of the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, John Roth, said. "It is always better to involve a qualified eye care professional and protect your vision."

The officials stressed that people should avoid getting contact lenses at Halloween stores, novelty stores, beauty shops or online sellers unless a prescription is required.

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