With Halloween around the corner, officials are warning of buying colored contact lenses for costumes.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued an alert about the lenses, warning of the dangers of purchasing the lenses from anyone other than a licensed eye care professional.
Without proper fittings or exams, the contacts can cause scratches, infections and potential blindness.
“Young people and their parents need to be aware that a prescription and proper fitting by a licensed professional is mandatory, even for colored, cosmetic contact lenses,” Manuel Flores, acting secretary of financial and professional regulation, said in a statement. “Good vision and eye health is too important to risk for the sake of eye color.”
Only eye care professionals licensed in Illinois are authorized to prescribe contact lenses, according to the IDFPR, who said they fine vendors selling cosmetic, colored lenses without a prescription up to $10,000.
According to the release, several licensed ophthalmologists have reported seeing patients who have suffered from infections or corneal scratches and the unfitted lenses pose several other health threats.
Residents are encouraged to notify state officials if they see lenses for sale at retail outlets that do not require a prescription from a licensed eye-care professional.