With Halloween around the corner, many people are considering getting “cosmetic” contact lenses to accessorize their costumes. One unfortunate incident involving such contact lenses, however, left a teenager partially blind in her right eye.
Hoping to jazz up her zombie costume look, Leah Carpenter, 17, bought a $26 pair of colored contact lenses at the Body Jewelry and More store in Mount Clemens, Michigan. A number of other girls purchased similar lenses at the weekend public market to be used for a powder puff football game, according to USA Today.
After putting on the contact lenses, the Lakeview High School senior ended up scratching her cornea and damaging her eye. The teenager recalled:
“It was just for show. That was our theme for the day. I wasn’t thinking anything could go wrong.”
The teenager’s mother said her daughter wore the contacts for about four hours during school and had difficulty removing them. The teen also mentioned discomfort with her peripheral vision. Her mother found her eye swollen shut the following morning and admitted her daughter to urgent care.
Carpenter has consequently been on a number of visits to the doctor, forced to miss school and extracurricular activities. She is currently undergoing treatment at the Beaumont Eye Institute in Royal Oak, Michigan.
The contact lenses she purchased were manufactured by WickedEyez and can be found for sale at a number of party supply stores and gas stations. Federal officials consider the lenses to be medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
It is illegal for stores and shops to advertise the contact lenses as cosmetics and to sell them without a prescription, according to federal officials. A spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Khaalid Walls, explained that the lenses are being purchased online and shipped overseas via mail by businesses.
According to the FDA’s website, such lenses bought over the counter can cause eye damage that include pinkeye, corneal infection, scratches on the cornea, poor vision and blindness. Prescribed contact lenses are usually fitted by an ophthalmologist or optometrist who measures each eye to ensure they properly fit a wearer.