Costume contact lenses could pose threat to vision - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Costume contact lenses could pose threat to vision

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Halloween is over, but those who purchased costume contact lenses, a real danger could still be lurking.

The scary eyes are popular but without a prescription they can lead to serious eye infections and even blindness.

An optometrist is warning of the dangers of black market contacts which have become popular year-round.

They may look cool, and maybe even a little creepy. But whether you got them for Halloween or for a new look, costume contact lenses without a prescription can be dangerous for your eyes.

"There's all kinds of problems out there related to them," said Dr. J. Ellis Cosby.

Cosby says he's seen patients suffering from serious eye infections as a result of wearing the illegally sold contacts.

"You could get a central corneal ulcer and that could be very devastating to your long term vision," said Cosby.

Why are they so dangerous? It's as simple as the shape of your eye. If the contact doesn't fit, it can lead to irreversible damage.

"If they are too tight they could cause significant problems. Plus, you need to be taught how to insert them, clean them, and store them," said Cosby.

In 2005 the FDA banned the sale of cosmetic lenses without a prescription, but there is a black market for them year-round.

"I've seen them in flea markets, curb stores where they are out on display and you can buy them and that's just not safe," said Cosby.

He says parents need to be on alert.

"[It's] just the colored lenses, the blue lenses or the green lenses, you don't need to buy them from anyone but an eye care professional. Selling them is illegal. It's illegal," reminds Cosby.

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