They're a 'considerable threat to consumer health and safety.'
Counterfeit contact lenses are just as gross as you thought, if not grosser, new research has found.
Scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Forensic Chemistry Center "examined over 300 decorative, noncorrective contact lenses obtained without a prescription," according to the study, which was published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences. Those are the type that some people wear as part of a Halloween costume.
Popular Science reports that most of the contacts studied came from the internet and places such as novelty stores, while others came from approved manufacturers. The researchers noted that by law, contact lenses of any type can only be obtained with a prescription.
The researchers checked the lenses for microbes. They stated: "Our observations indicate that 60% of the counterfeit lenses and 27% of the unapproved lenses examined were positive for microbial contamination. Twenty-nine different brands of noncorrective contact lenses were examined, and 48% of them had at least one sample positive for microbial contamination."
Popular Science noted that among the group of approved contact lenses, less than 3 percent had contamination.
"These results support the contention that acquiring contact lenses without a prescription is a considerable threat to consumer health and safety," the scientists wrote.
Contaminated contact lenses, they explained, "are associated with numerous health risks, including ocular infections and conjunctivitis leading to permanent visual impairment or blindness."
Read more at Popular Science