Choose decorative contact lenses carefully

WASHINGTON – Lots of people use decorative contact lenses as part of a Halloween costume. But Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has issued a warning – some of those lenses, sold without a prescription for as little as $20, can cause eye damage and even blindness.

ICE special agent William Ross says that if you buy such lenses from mall kiosks, beauty salons, flea markets or over the internet, you’re taking that risk that your eyes will be damaged by bad lenses or a pair that does not fit right.

“It can be scratches to your cornea; it can be ulcers that form on your eyes or it could go all the way up to blindness,” he says.


Some of the counterfeit lenses seized by ICE. People who want decorative contact lenses should buy them through a vision store with a prescription from a doctor. (Photo courtesy ICE)

Ross says many of these lenses have been imported from overseas, including China, and have not been checked for safety or approved by the FDA.

Selling such lenses without a prescription is illegal, and ICE has been seizing the suspect lenses all over the country.

“If you’re selling them, we’re looking for you, and we’ll come see you someday, hopefully,” Ross says.

Decorative lenses can be obtained legally and safely at a vision store with a prescription from an eye doctor.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up