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Daily Q&A: Are decorative contact lenses safe for kids' Halloween costumes?

My child wants to use decorative contact lenses as part of a Halloween costume. Is there any danger to kids' eyes when using this product?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration winces every time Halloween rolls around because of fears that consumers might damage their eyes with unapproved decorative lenses.

Many consumers might not be aware that even decorative contact lenses — also known as plano, zero-powered, or non-corrective contact lenses — are regulated by the FDA just as the corrective lenses are.

Consumers should not use lenses that are not approved by the FDA, even for decorative purposes.

In a statement regarding decorative lenses, the FDA noted:

Recent legislation has made it illegal to market decorative contact lenses as over-the-counter products. Still, FDA is aware that consumers without valid prescriptions have bought decorative contact lenses from beauty salons, record stores, video stores, flea markets, convenience stores, beach shops, and the Internet.

"What troubles us is when they are bought and used without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care," says James Saviola, the Ophthalmic and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices network leader in FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "This can lead to significant risks of eye injuries, including blindness."

For more information visit: www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048902.htm.

Question for the Consumer's Edge? Send it to ipenn@sptimes.com or twitter.com/consumers_edge. Questions are answered only in this daily feature.

Daily Q&A: Are decorative contact lenses safe for kids' Halloween costumes? 10/27/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 10:22am]
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