In the first week of March 2013, the FDA issued warning letters to online retailers who sell unapproved decorative contact lenses. The FDA considers unauthorized distribution of colored contacts as an extremely dangerous business. In fact, dozens of people all over the world have suffered greatly due to the use of these unapproved decorative lenses. In the letter, online retailers are warned that they must immediately stop selling the illegal contact lenses to comply with federal law. According to the warning, retailers who continue to sell unapproved contact lenses may be subject to seizure, injunction, punitive damages, and even criminal prosecution.
WHAT ARE ILLEGAL CONTACT LENSES?
The retailers that were targeted by the FDA are selling unapproved decorative lenses. These contact lenses do not improve eyesight and instead only change the color of the eye. The reason retailers are breaking the law by selling these particular contacts is because a prescription is required to obtain these colored contacts.
WHY COLORED CONTACTS REQUIRE PRESCRIPTIONS
Even though decorative, or colored, contacts don’t improve a person’s eyesight, these contacts are still considered a medical device by the United States government. Since colored contacts are a medical device, they must be treated appropriately. For this reason, colored contacts can only be distributed via a prescription from an appropriate eyecare specialist. Online retailers who were warned for illegally selling colored contacts are doing so without a valid prescription from an eyecare professional.
The federal government has strict guidelines in relationship to the distribution of contact lenses to protect consumers. In fact, the warning letter that was sent to online retailers was done with the sole purpose of protecting consumers. Consumers who wear contact lenses with no training or education are much more likely to develop an eye infection or eye injury. Furthermore, it is vital for a person wearing a decorative lens to wear a lens that fits appropriately. Contact lenses are not one size fits all, which means each contact lens wearer needs an individual contact lens prescription. It is also essential to remember that contact lens prescriptions can change from year to year, so it is necessary to have a valid, non-expired prescription that fits your eyes correctly. In fact, contact lenses that are too tight are extremely likely to cause damage to the eye. On the other hand, contact lenses that are too large will make a wearer’s eyes look strange because they do not fit properly.
According to the FDA, contact lens wearers who don’t have proper education and training regarding contact lens maintenance and application are 12 times more likely to develop eye infections or ulcers. These types of infections and eye ulcers can still happen to those who obtain their contacts properly, however, infections in those individuals who receive contact lenses from legitimate sources are usually less dangerous and less frequent than others.
WHAT MOTIVATED THE FDA TO WARN ONLINE RETAILERS WHO SELL DECORATIVE CONTACT LENSES
The FDA was motivated to warn online retailers regarding their illegal behavior because of an increase in eye infections and injuries that have been sustained by consumers who purchased colored contacts from online retailers. One woman developed such an intense infection while wearing colored contacts that the infection could not be treated by traditional prescription medication. Unfortunately, the only way to cure the woman of the terrible infection was to remove her eye completely. Even if the ophthalmologist had not removed her eye completely, the infection was so far gone that she would have likely been rendered blind in that eye.
COLORED CONTACTS CAN BE PURCHASED FROM OPTOMETRISTS AND OPHTHALMOLOGISTS
Since there are a great deal of injuries and potentially devastating risks associated with contact lenses, no one should buy these unapproved lenses from unauthorized online retailers. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that individuals can’t wear colored contacts. However, it is necessary to obtain colored contacts from your eye doctors office in order to ensure that you keep your eyes healthy. Your eye doctor will prescribe a colored contact lens that is appropriate for you, and will ensure that the contact fits correctly as well. With a properly fit contact lens, wearers should expect fewer complications with their decorative lenses.
In life, you only get one set of eyes. For that reason, and many others, it is especially crucial that your eyes are treated with the utmost respect and that consumers only use quality, FDA-approved contact lenses in their eyes. Don’t take a chance on destroying or damaging your eyesight. Instead, always get colored contact lenses from a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Contact Brighton Optical to get fitted for colored contact lenses safely by a licensed Optometrist!