Decorative contact lenses have become a popular part of Halloween costumes, but special agents from various federal agencies are warning the public about the hazards of using counterfeit decorative contact lenses.
The Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have joined forces to seize counterfeit lenses that are being distributed throughout the United States.
“This is another example of organized criminals trying to make a buck with no regard for the health and safety of the public,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Consumers need to be smart and vigilant. Saving a few dollars is certainly not worth playing roulette with your eyesight.”
Typically, decorative contact lenses can be ordered at the office that conducts the eye exam and contact lens fitting, ICE said, and many people are unaware that it is illegal to purchase or sell contact lenses, including the decorative variety, without a prescription from a licensed eye doctor.
In an effort to target counterfeit contact lenses, FDA-OCI, HSI and CBP joined forces and worked with the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center to make several large seizures of counterfeit lenses, ICE said.
“There is nothing fun about counterfeit products especially when they are a threat to the health and safety of the American people,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar. “CBP protects the nation from harmful products like counterfeit contact lenses by interdicting them before they can arrive at your local store, allowing Halloween festivities to be enjoyed safely.”