According to a recently published illinois.gov press release, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is cracking down on beauty supply stores and cosmetic vendors at flea markets who are selling colored contact lenses to consumers without a prescription.
The crack down is part of a Cease and Desist order that will prohibit vendors from selling the colored contact lenses and could fine them up to $10,000 for the sale of them.
In addition, colored contact lenses that are purchased and worn by people without prescriptions or proper health and eye inspections puts thousands of Illinois consumers at risk for eye scratches, bacterial infections, and even blindness and other eye problems.
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Secretary Dean Martinez said, “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. Good vision and eye health is too important to risk because of a desire for different colored eyes. Protecting consumers from unnecessary danger of infection is an important part of our responsibility as regulators.”
The only sellers who are allowed to provide colored contact lenses or even regular contact lenses are eye care professionals licensed by the state. Anyone can ask there eye care professional to see their Illinois certification.
“Stopping unlicensed practice is always a challenge, but by imposing the maximum allowable fine in each case, we hope to gain the attention of retailers who are breaking the law but find the profits hard to give up,” said Daniel E. Bluthardt, Director of the Division of Professional Regulation, IDFPR. “We will continue to invest resources into cutting off the supply of cosmetic contact lenses and hope to see a reduction in the number of infections as a result.”
Tianna Morele, suburban Chicago mother, said, “My daughter bought Halloween colored contact lenses from a flea market here in the City. A few days after wearing them she developed pink eye in both eyes due to the contact lenses. Our optometrist said that the contact lenses she bought had already been worn and that’s how she contracted the infection. I hope all parents keep a tab on what their kids wear and buy, especially from sellers who may have tainted products or other things. These cause serious problems and all parents want is for their kids to be healthy and stay away from things like this.”