Why can’t decorative contact lenses be purchased on the Internet or in drug stores without a current prescription?
The United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) classifies all contact lenses as medical devices, whether they correct vision or are simply used for cosmetic purposes such as to change one’s eye color. In the United States, contact lenses cannot be obtained legally without a prescription. The prescription shows that the contact lenses were fit by a qualified eye care professional. There is no such thing as an “over-the-counter” contact lens. I know Boulder, Colorado loves celebrating Halloween both with kids and adults on Pearl Street. Let’s do it safely.
There are several problems potentially associated with wearing decorative (i.e., cosmetic tints, theatrical, “Halloween,” or “circle”) contact lenses if purchased on the Internet or in drug stores. If they are obtained without a prescription and without appropriate lens care instructions, fitting, and follow-up care, their use can result in complications including eye infections and permanent loss of vision.
There are numerous reports detailing infections resulting in significant vision loss in individuals using cosmetic contact lenses obtained from improper sources without medical supervision. These infections include not only common infections and complications but also sight-threatening conditions such as Acanthamoeba keratitis or rare bacterial infections. There are many prescription cosmetic contact lenses available when properly prescribed and monitored by an eye care professional. Come visit Alpine EyeCare Center here in Boulder, Colorado to discuss healthy cosmetic contact lens options and to review the best strategies for care and handling of these lenses.