AAO issues reminder about unknown danger of decorative contacts

October 25, 2007

San Francisco-The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) wishes to remind consumers during this time of the year that serious eye disorders, corneal abrasions, and blinding infections can be caused by over-the-counter (OTC) contact lenses.

San Francisco-The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) wishes to remind consumers during this time of the year that serious eye disorders, corneal abrasions, and blinding infections can be caused by over-the-counter (OTC) contact lenses.

"Some Internet sites market decorative contacts as if they were cosmetics, advertising 'One size fits all,' and 'No need to see an eye specialist.' Nothing could be further from the truth," said Thomas Steinemann, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and a clinical correspondent for the academy.

OTC sales of nonprescription "plano" cosmetic lenses have been illegal in the United States since 2005, however, decorative lenses are still available in retail stores and on the Internet.

Consumers often are not educated on the proper use and care of decorative contacts and may not realize the harm in wearing them, according to the AAO.