Cosmetic contacts lenses – also known as costume or decorative contact lenses – can change the way your eye looks without correcting your vision. While they may seem like just another fashion accessory, the fact is all contacts require a prescription.
Anyone who sells you lenses without getting a copy of your prescription or verifying your prescription information with your prescriber is selling them illegally. That’s important because contacts that don’t fit can have serious consequences, including conjunctivitis (pink eye), scratches and sores on the cornea, even blindness.
But according to the FTC , one California-based contact lens seller turned a blind eye to the law. In its complaint, the FTC alleges that Lawrence L. Duskin – owner of HollywoodColorContacts.com, WorldColorContacts.com, and TopModelContacts.com – sold cosmetic contact lenses without getting customers’ prescriptions or verifying prescriptions with prescribers, and failed to maintain records of consumers’ prescriptions.
The FTC’s proposed order permanently bans Duskin from advertising, marketing, promoting, dispensing, or selling contact lenses, and includes a civil penalty judgment of $575,000.
If you’re in the market for cosmetic contacts, see an eye care professional for an eye exam and prescription. Once you have your prescription, only buy contacts from sellers who require your prescription (or will verify it with your eye doctor) and who sell FDA-approved contact lenses. Your sight may depend on it.
If you come across someone selling contact lenses without a prescription, tell the FTC.
For a more in-depth look at your prescription rights for contacts – and glasses – read Prescription Glasses and Contact Lenses. It includes a list of what you should see in your prescription.