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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Thinking of sporting some wild-eyed contact lenses for Halloween? Think again, say federal health officials.
Decorative contact lenses that are sold without a prescription are illegal and can cause serious eye injury, potentially even blindness, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday in what has become an annual October warning.
Consumers should wear only decorative lenses that are properly prescribed and fitted by an eye-care professional, the FDA says.
Decorative lenses -- from scary Halloween looks to lenses imprinted with sports logos -- sometimes are sold through flea markets, convenience stores, beach shops and the Internet.
The FDA cites dozens of reports of corneal ulcers -- abrasions that can rapidly lead to vision-threatening infections -- and other eye injuries linked to such products.
The FDA has approved the prescription-only sale of some contact lenses for cosmetic use, such as colored lenses. But it has never allowed contact lenses to be sold without a prescription.
The FDA said it is inspecting companies that distribute decorative lenses and will crack down on those not following the law. It recently warned one seller to quit.
The FDA urged consumers who have had problems with decorative contact lenses to call 1-800-FDA-1088.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)