TALLAHASSEE, FL – October 28, 2010 — Professional Opticians of Florida is warning consumers of eye health concerns related to the use of non-corrective colored contact lenses (cosmetic lenses) for Halloween.

Cosmetic lenses are used to change eye color or provide the wide-eye look made popular by Lady Gaga, and are sold illegally as over-the-counter Halloween costume accessories at retail outlets and online. Cosmetic contact lenses sales are carefully regulated by the Florida by Department of Health, because they have the same health risks as corrective lenses.

All contact lenses affix to the cornea; the wrong lens can change the shape of the cornea; they can damage the eye, if not fitted properly and handled safely; they require professional oversight to ensure that the lenses fit the cornea. Severe eye infections have been reported in as little as 24 hours of wear time with improper use.

The sale of any contact lens including cosmetic lens in Florida without a prescription from an eye care physician is a felony offense, punishable by up to five years in jail.

“Every year eyecare professionals from across the State see incidences of eye injury due to improper oversight of contact lenses” says James Reese, President of the Professional Opticians of Florida.

Opticians’ care about eye health therefore, they are recommending that consumers ensure that they consult a Licensed Optician whenever they choose an eye product, whether it is contact lenses, eyeglasses or low-vision aids. Licensed Opticians are vision experts; they are trained to recommend and safely fit a range of devices to improve eyesight. A Licensed Optician can also provide training on contact lens use and instruction on hygiene. To find out more about what Licensed Opticians and other eye care profession can do for you visit www.LicensedOptician.info.

If you suspect the unlicensed sale of contact lens or an individual performing any other unlicensed health care practice, call the Department of Health’s toll-free hotline at 877-HALT-ULA (877-425-8852) or email them at [email protected]

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Mark A. Miller, Executive Director, Professional Opticians of Florida [email protected]

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