They can make your eyes look bigger, bluer, or like a cat. Despite the innocent and fun appearance, it's illegal to sell contact lenses - cosmetic or corrective - without a doctor's prescription.
PLANO -- With Halloween just around the corner, a dangerous health trend is on the rise: the illegal sale of decorative contact lenses.
They can make your eyes look bigger, bluer, or even like a cat. Despite the innocent and fun appearance, it's illegal to sell contact lenses - either cosmetic or corrective - without a doctor's prescription, according to the FDA and the FTC.
Yet, News 8 found lenses being sold over the counter at a Plano gas station convenience store. A pair meant to transform the eyes into those of a zombie cost just $20. Similar lenses sold online with a prescription cost upwards of $80.
The clerk assured us there was no need for a prescription.
"Things like these are an absolute menace to someone like me," said Plano optometrist Dr. Zak Rosemore.
Rosemore said the ulcers, infections, and other serious eye conditions caused by wearing the wrong lenses for even a few minutes should scare buyers. Each eye is individual, with different dimensions that require a unique fit.
"It's a public health concern," he said. "If someone isn't fit properly for a contact lens, lots of different bad things can happen that can result in permanent blindness."
Dr. Rosemore has tried to stop businesses - including to the Plano convenience store - from selling contact lenses illegally. He wants people to open their eyes to the risks.
Most major-chain retailers understand the federal laws and require a physician's prescription before dispensing any variety of contact lens.
The Plano convenience store owner told us they weren't aware they were breaking any laws. They agreed to quit selling the contacts immediately.
Businesses who are selling contacts illegally can be reported to the FTC at ftc.gov, or call toll-free at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
With Halloween around the corner, sales of cosmetic contact lenses are picking up. But selling any contact lenses without a prescription is illegal. WFAA