After falling asleep with a pair of colored contacts, purchased at a local beauty store, a Queens girl has been hospitalized and doctors say she needs a cornea transplant.
Erica Barnes, just 14-years-old, bought a pair of hazel colored contact lenses from a store on Jamaica Avenue in New York for just twenty dollars. Because of her cheap purchase, she was not given the proper instruction on how to take care of the contacts or her eyes, reporting that she was told she could simply use tap water to clean them. Unbeknownst to many, under federal law, contacts must be sold with a prescription from a licensed doctor. For reasons made obvious in this case, any other sale is illegal.
“They are dangerous eye candy that our children can buy anywhere,” warned Erica’s step-mother, Trina Swain.
The market for these illegal contacts is huge and little is being done to educate people, both young and old, about the dangers of them. “I see three to four cases a week of infections. Women are just doing it for the sake of beauty and to look better. They end up almost losing their sight,” said Dr. Jules Winokur, a corneal specialist on the Upper East Side. “There needs to be proper fitting and proper instruction on how to store them,” Winokur suggests.