News Release: State Issues Warning on Nonprescription Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Posted on Oct 14, 2013 in News Releases



Regulated Industries Complaints Office






Oct. 14, 2013


State Issues Warning on Nonprescription Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Illegally Sold Lenses Pose Potential Health Risks


HONOLULU — As the Halloween season approaches, the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) wants consumers to be aware of the risks associated with wearing cosmetic, non-corrective contact lenses that are purchased without a valid prescription.


Using the wrong contacts can cause injury, infection and even possible blindness if the quality is questionable or they are fitted or worn incorrectly.


In 2008, the state passed a law prohibiting sales of nonprescription contact

lenses in Hawaii. However, these lenses are still being marketed illegally as fashion or Halloween accessories at beauty salons, swap meets, convenience stores; through on-line businesses; and even by individuals advertising on the Internet.


DCCA reminds consumers it is against the law to sell or offer to sell contact lenses without an appropriate license.


“Unfortunately, it’s relatively easy to find them, and a lot of people, especially young people, aren’t aware of the risks involved in wearing them,” Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO) Complaints and Enforcement Officer Daria Loy-Goto said. “We investigate and prosecute cases at locations and online throughout the year, not just at Halloween.”


Citations issued by RICO impose fines and require the person to cease and desist unlicensed activity.


“When prescribed and dispensed by a licensed professional, decorative contact lenses can be worn safely,” Loy-Goto added. “However, they’re not cosmetics or ‘over-the-counter merchandise.’ Consumers must be cautious.”


For those consumers who wish to wear decorative contact lenses, DCCA makes the following recommendations:


  1. Get an eye examination from a licensed eye care professional, even if you have perfect vision.
  2. Get a valid prescription that includes the brand and lens dimensions.
  3. Purchase lenses from a licensed eye care professional or from a vendor who requires a prescription for the lenses.
  4. Follow the directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses, and visit a licensed eye care professional for follow-up eye examinations.


For more information, contact the DCCA Consumer Resource Center at 587-4272 (toll-free 1-800-394-1902 for the NeighborIslands) or check the U.S. Food

and Drug Administration’s website at


To report unlicensed activity, contact the Regulated Industries Complaints Office at (808) 587-4272.


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Media Contact:

Brent Suyama

DCCA Communications Officer

(808) 586-7582

[email protected]