Non-prescribed colored contact lenses are a popular Halloween accessory. (photo by Victor Martinez/flickr)
By Jim Anderson
SPRINGFIELD - A store in Central Illinois has been busted for illegally selling colored contact lenses.
The store surrendered 41 boxes and 54 single containers of non-prescription colored contact lenses – retail value: $1,600 – to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The department isn’t naming the store or the town because its investigation isn’t complete. It won’t be identified unless charges are brought, but spokesman Susan Hofer says you can’t just sell contact lenses off the shelf.
“There’s a law against selling lenses without a prescription. And the prescription can be for un-corrective colored lenses, but they need to be fitted for every individual wearer,” she said.
A violation of this law by a retailer is considered the unlicensed practice of optometry and subject to cease and desist orders and civil fines of up to $10,000.
Hofer says young people sometimes want the cosmetic lenses to match an outfit or as part of a Halloween costume, but they still have to get a prescription. She says the illegal sale is widespread across the state, and the department tries to sniff it out.
Hofer says when a user doesn’t have a prescription, he or she hasn’t been fitted for the contacts and may not know how to use them and what the dangers of improper use are, including scratches and eye infections.