Skip to main navigationSkip to News Headlines
NJ Division of Consumer Affairs
Global Navigation
Division of Consumer Affairs
The State of New Jersey Office of The Attorney General (Dept. of Law & Public Safety) The State of New Jersey NJ Home Services A to Z Departments/Agencies OAG Frequently Asked Questions
OAG Home
OAG Contact
Division of Consumer Affairs Alerts and Recalls
Division of Consumer Affairs Alerts and Recalls
Office of the Attorney General Homepage Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Division of Consumer Affairs
Division of Consumer Affairs Highlights
Division of Consumer Affairs Topics in a A-Z List Format
Office of Consumer Protection (OCP)
New Jersey Bureau of Securities
Office of Weights and Measures
Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Professions and Occupations List
Contact the Division of Consumer Affairs
Division of Consumer Affairs in Spanish
Division of Criminal Justice
Division on Civil Rights
Division of Gaming Enforcement
Division of Highway Traffic Safety
Division of Law
Juvenile Justice Commission
NJ Racing Commission
State Athletic Control Board
Division of NJ State Police
Victims of Crime Compensation Office
OPRA - Open Public Records Act
Download Free PDF Reader

Consumer Alert:
Novelty Contact Lenses are Dangerous,
Illegal Without a Prescription


As consumers shop for Halloween costumes, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs warns them to avoid the use of novelty contact lenses, which are associated with significant health risks including eye infection and permanent vision loss.

The Division also reminds retailers that the sale of novelty contact lenses is a fourth-degree crime under New Jersey law, subject to significant penalties, unless they are sold by a licensed ophthalmic dispenser or a licensed medical practitioner or optometrist. The US Food and Drug Administration regulates novelty lenses as medical devices, similar to corrective lenses.

Novelty contact lenses are non-corrective lenses, worn directly on the eye and designed to change the eye’s appearance. When used with proper medical oversight, and as part of a multimillion-dollar Hollywood production, they can make professional actors look like savage orcs (as in The Lord of the Rings) or hideous zombies (as in The Walking Dead).

But unless they’re dispensed by a properly licensed medical practitioner, optometrist, or ophthalmic dispenser, novelty lenses are best left to the pros. The FDA has received reports of corneal ulcers, eye infections, and permanent vision loss resulting from the use of decorative contact lenses.

Other risks include conjunctivitis (an infection of the eye), corneal edema (swelling), allergic reaction, and corneal abrasion due to improper lens fit – health consequences that last longer than a costume party, and are far scarier than anything likely to jump out at you this Halloween.

Under New Jersey law, specifically N.J.S.A. 2C:40-25, the sale of contact lenses by anyone who is not a licensed ophthalmic dispenser, medical practitioner, or optometrist, is a fourth-degree crime. The penalty for a first offense is a fine of at least $1,000; for a second offense, a fine of at least $5,000 and the performance of 40 hours of community service; and for a third and subsequent offenses, a fine of at least $10,000 and 100 hours of community service.

Information on novelty contact lenses and their associated health risks is included in the Division of Consumer Affairs’ flyer, “Novelty Contact Lenses: Dangerous and Illegal Without a Prescription,” available at a http://www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/alert/eyedanger.pdf and in Spanish at http://www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/alert/eyedangerSP.pdf.

For general Halloween safety, follow the three steps recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): Prevent Fires and Burns, See and Be Seen, and Fit for Safety. See the CPSC fact sheet at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12018.pdf.

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website, NJConsumerAffairs.gov, or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey ) or 973-504-6200.

Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/pages/NJ-Division-of-Consumer-Affairs/112957465445651 ; and check our online calendar of upcoming Consumer Outreach events, at http://www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/outreach.

   
Contact Us | Privacy Notice | Legal Statement | Accessibility Statement
NJ Home Logo
Divisional: DCA Home | Complaint Forms | Proposals | Adoptions | Contact DCA
Departmental: OAG Home | Contact OAG | About OAG | OAG News | OAG FAQs
Statewide: NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs
Copyright © State of New Jersey
This page is maintained by DCA. Comments/Questions: email

Page last modified: