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AG's Office: Costume Contacts Are A No-No

By istolethetv from Hong Kong, China (jed-eyes Uploaded by Princess Mérida) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There are plenty of websites that offer colorful contact lenses to spice up your Halloween costume.
But are they legal?
Most websites don't offer much information about the prescriptions required before a set of contacts can be sold.But it's against the law in Texas -- and anywhere in the United States --  to sell contact lenses without a prescription - even those that are not required for vision.
The Federal Trade Commission earlier this year contacted 45 contact lens prescribers and 10 sellers, warning them that they could be violating the FTC's Contact Lens Rule. The rule was established in 2004 to allow consumers to shop for contact lenses while ensuring that sales occur only in accordance with a valid prescription.
The Texas Department of State Health Services on its website states there are health risks associated with covering living tissue with a layer of plastic. According to state law, all types of contacts are medical devices.
The Texas Attorney General's office today sent out a warning , reminding those who would use contacts as part of their Halloween costume, that the lenses marketed as "costume, fashion or colored" lenses, could pose serious safety risks to the eyes, including infection and loss of vision.
If you do insist of using cosmetic contacts, make sure you have a valid prescription from a licensed physician or optometrist - and buy them only from a business or individual who is authorized by law to dispense contact lenses.
According to the AG's office, last month settlements were reached with 21 San Antonio-area convenience and dollar stores for selling contact lenses without prescriptions. Store owners agreed to pay $50,000 in civil penalties and attorney fees, and to permanently stop selling the lenses.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.