Nick Rees Oct. 22, 2013, 4:43pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently teamed with Prevent Blindness Ohio and the Ohio Optical Dispensers board to warn consumers about the dangers of decorative contact lenses.

"As we prepare for Halloween, we want to remind Ohio families that over-the-counter sales of decorative contact lenses are illegal," DeWine said. "Contact lenses are medical devices, and if they are not administered properly, they can cause serious eye infections that can lead to permanent damage, including blindness."

The Optical Dispensers Board said the number of consumer complaints filed regarding the illegal sale of over-the-counter cosmetic lenses and the concurrent number of resulting cease-and-desist orders to violating businesses has steadily increased after a period of decline.

Thirteen cease-and-desist orders were issued in fiscal year 2009 by the Optical Dispensers Board, with 12, 16 and 15 issued in the following years. Fifteen cease-and-desist orders have been issued so far this year.

Decorative contacts, which come in numerous styles and colors, can lead to eye pain, bacterial infections and corneal ulcers. One study found that the lenses increased by 16 times the risk of developing keratitis, a potentially blinding infection that causes ulcers in the eye.

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