A lot of teens and young adults want to wear colored or novelty contact lenses as part of their Halloween costumes.
But they may not be aware that it is illegal to buy or sell contact lenses of any kind without a prescription.
Now investigators from federal agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security have gotten involved, with an operation they're calling "Double Vision."
They have been seizing counterfeit contact lenses -- typically shipped from overseas.
Dr. Melissa Connolly, an optometrist with Eyefit Vision in Bel Air, Md., says when people wear contact lenses that don't fit, or are poorly made, or if they don't know how to care for them properly, they could get an eye infection or even a "corneal ulcer" -- a painful scar in the eye that could lead to blindness.
"The eye is completely red and they're painful and they can't even open the eye," she said. "We've had to pry the contact lens out and then treat them very aggressively with antibiotics."
If you do get a prescription, you can order decorative contact lenses from the doctor or a site that will take your information from that prescription, and send you real contact lenses that actually fit.
"It's a medical device," Connolly said. "And people just think it's cosmetic, but it is a serious medical device."
Christian Schaffer is a reporter for Scripps station WMAR-TV in Baltimore, Md. Read more: http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/health/federal-investigators-seize-novelty-contact-lenses#ixzz2ikZjLZj7 . Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.