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'Operation Double Vision' targets dangerous contacts not alcohol

Halloween is just around the corner. A lot of Honolulu residents are putting the finishing touches on their costumes. When it comes to adult costumes, the details can get pretty creative. Changing the color of one’s eyes is often one of those extra additives that make a costume effectively creepy.

Be careful which colored contact lenses you pick this year, say officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Officials warn consumers that not only are many of these contacts sold illegally, but more importantly, consumers should know that many of them are considered dangerous products that could cause blindness.

Officials suggest that if consumers want to add that extra touch of color on their face, they should get a prescription first. Then, only wear contacts that require a prescription to obtain. Colored contacts that are sold at novelty shops or other retailers unassociated with an eye specialist run the risk of being one of these illegal brands.

The FDA is taking this risk serious. The federal initiative “Operation Double Vision” may sound like it is targeted at reducing drunk driving, but it isn’t. It is a joint operation between the FDA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The targets are importers of these illegal contact lenses.

When a consumer is harmed by an unsafe or defective product, there is a theory referred to as the chain of distribution or the chain of commerce. This theory allows anyone from the designer to the manufacturer to the distributor to be named in a lawsuit. Thus, when retailers allow dangerous and illegally imported products to land on their shelves, they could be held liable for damages.

Source: Fox News, “FDA warns against ‘illegal’ colored contact lenses for Halloween,” Oct. 24, 2013

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