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San Joaquin County
District Attorney's Office
Consumer ALERT

October 24, 2019

Halloween know-how: Cosmetic contacts require an Rx

SOURCE: Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Dressing up for Halloween can be fun. Revelers often use make-up, wigs and cosmetic contact lenses to complete their look.

Cosmetic contacts lenses – also known as costume or decorative contact lenses – can change the way your eye looks without correcting your vision. While they may seem like just another fashion accessory, the fact is all contacts require a prescription.

Anyone who sells you lenses without getting a copy of your prescription or verifying your prescription information with your prescriber is selling them illegally. That’s important because contacts that don’t fit can have serious consequences, including conjunctivitis (pink eye), scratches and sores on the cornea. Even blindness.

The FTC enforces the Contact Lens Rule, which requires your eye doctor to give you your prescription – whether you ask for it or not – at no extra charge. That lets you shop around for the best deal.

Image: Spooky EyesSo if you’re in the market for cosmetic contacts, see an eye care professional for an eye exam and prescription. And only buy costume contacts from retailers who require a prescription or your eye doctor’s information, and who only sell FDA-approved contact lenses. If you come across someone selling cosmetic contact lenses without a prescription, let us know.

For a more in-depth look at your prescription rights for contacts – and glasses – read Prescription Glasses and Contact Lenses. It includes a list of what you should see in your prescription.

For advice about healthy cosmetic contact lens wear, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.