Buyers beware: Illegal contact lenses for sale in Roanoke - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Buyers beware: Illegal contact lenses for sale in Roanoke

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A dangerous potential Halloween accessory  found for sale in some local stores are quickly becoming popular.

Despite the popularity, buyers beware: federal law bans the sale of any contact lenses without a prescription.

That includes decorative lenses which change your eye color or the appearance of your eyes.

The options are to look like a cat, Lady GaGa or even a doll. The list goes on and on.

Some lenses are strange and even scary.

But even more frightening are the consequences.

The FDA and the American Academy of ophthalmology has released multiple public service announcements ahead of Halloween,warning of these illegal contact lenses that are being sold over the counter including, here in our area.

WSLS wanted to know how this is happening  so we spoke with local optometrist Dr. Gary Nadolsky who says there is little enforcement on the sale of over-the-counter contact lenses.

"They are obviously not eye professionals they don't specialize in the health of the eyes so I don't think there is an interest there. But I would think that is a huge liability," Nadolsky said.

And its all too easy to get hold of a pair of these. So far, WSLS found three stores in Roanoke that sell them.

So for about 20-dollars, you can have turquoise eyes for the night, but doctors tell us the side effects could be much more costly; possibly the loss of your eyesight altogether.

Don't let the signs fool you. The pair we found says they're FDA approved, but they aren't listed anywhere on the FDA's web site.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology shows pictures of patients eyes who have been severely damaged from wearing these contacts over the counter. Some have even gone blind.

Dr. Nadolsky explains that colored lenses are thicker than normal and don't allow oxygen to your eyes.

"It can really put patients at risk for infections, or weaken the cornea where you can get permanent damage from scarring, or ulcers along those lines," Nadolsky said.

" It can really have devastating effects long term on their vision."

So when looking to complete your Halloween costume this year - know the risks before you buy.

If you are interested in decorative lenses, most eye doctors have contact lenses available that could suit your need. Nadolsky says its important to wear decorative lenses safely and have a proper fitting before buying.


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