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Government task force seeks to halt unregulated contact lenses

Tennessee residents may be interested in a new story about a government operation tasked with stopping illegal contact lenses from entering the country. These lenses have the potential to cause serious harm to those who wear them.

Multiple government agencies are joining with the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations for "Operation Double Vision," an initiative directed toward curbing the importation of unregulated contact lenses into the U.S. Other agencies involved in the operation include U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Normally, the FDA approves contact lenses prior to their use by the public. The lenses that are the object of the initiative have been illegally imported or are counterfeits. In the U.S., it is unlawful for a person to purchase contact lenses without a prescription from an ophthalmologist or other licensed eye care professional.

An executive associate director of the Homeland Security Investigations recommends that those looking to purchase contact lenses, especially around the Halloween holiday, avoid buying them from unregulated vendors that do not require a prescription. This includes costume and novelty shops. These lenses, FDA officials warn, can damage a person's eyes permanently. One spokesperson from the FDA says that those who use decorative, non-prescription lenses can run the risk of blindness.

These unregulated contact lenses may add flair to a Halloween costume, but the dangers of using these products outweigh their perceived benefits. Defective and dangerous products such as these can result in serious damage, and the makers of these products may be liable for damages. These damages can include compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering caused by the product. An attorney who has experience with product liability cases may be able to help recover from the manufacturer in a civil lawsuit.

Source: FOX News, "FDA warns against ‘illegal’ colored contact lenses for Halloween", October 24, 2013

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