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AOA Targets Illegal Contact Lens Sales As Halloween Approaches

It’s rolling out its annual ’31 in 31′ letter-writing campaign.




The American Optometric Association is rolling out its annual “31 in 31” letter-writing campaign, calling out online vendors, brick-and-mortar shops and other sellers who may be distributing contacts to the public without valid prescriptions.

Copied to the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, the letters are disseminated to businesses reported to the AOA. Doctors can report suspected violations to the AOA here or direct questions to [email protected].

As Halloween approaches, the AOA is reminding doctors that they can report suspected violations of the law regarding the sales of illegal costume contacts lenses. By law, decorative contact lenses, whether they correct vision or not, require a prescription from an eye doctor, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Decorative contact lenses are a cool accessory to a Halloween costume but only if they’re prescribed and fitted by a doctor of optometry,” said AOA President Barbara L. Horn, OD. “Unfortunately, people may buy their decorative lenses illegally without a prescription from a street vendor, at a beauty supply store, on the internet, or in a novelty shop. The consequences for their vision can be very serious.

“Doctors of optometry are well aware of the risks to their patients from contaminated, poorly fitted decorative lenses,” Dr. Horn says. “If they want to wear decorative contact lenses, patients should see their doctors of optometry for proper fitting. They should seek immediate care from their doctors of optometry if any symptoms develop from wearing illegal lenses. We want patients to have a safe, fun Halloween.”

On its website, the AOA notes that doctors can report suspicious sales of decorative contact lenses through various federal and AOA channels, including:


The AOA provides patient education resources for informing patients on contact lens safety and care of contact lenses. They include:

For more information on illegal retailer or incident reporting, contact AOA Director for Coding and Regulatory Policy Kara Webb at [email protected].



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