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Published: Friday, 10/26/2007

Dann wants unlicensed Ohio stores to halt sales of cosmetic contact lenses


COLUMBUS The Ohio attorney general s office wants to stop six businesses, including one in Toledo, from selling cosmetic contact lenses without a license because of the danger it presents.

Attorney General Marc Dann yesterday filed six motions requesting temporary restraining orders and injunctions against businesses selling the cosmetic contacts, which are popular for Halloween costumes.

The cosmetic lenses can cause eye infections, scarring, and even blindness.

It also is illegal to buy them without a valid prescription, said Sherry Williams, president of Prevent Blindness Ohio, a consumer advocate group that promotes eye health and safety.

The decorative lenses often are sold at gas stations, beauty supply stores, and costume shops, she said.

The attorney general s office notified VIP Sports, a clothing store on Monroe Street, by phone Wednesday that selling the lenses without a license is illegal, said Chan Schin, owner.

Mr. Schin said he was unaware that it was illegal to sell the cosmetic lenses without a license, but added he is no longer selling them at his store.

If the state of Ohio says I can t sell it, then I can t sell it, he said.

Selling contact lenses over the counter is dangerous because consumers don t receive instructions on how to properly care for them, Ms. Williams said.

Teenagers oftentimes wear the contact lenses while they sleep, won t disinfect them, and will trade them with friends, which quickly spreads infections.

Ms. Williams said they also soak the lenses in colored dye to change the color.

[If] you mess your eye up, you can t transplant it, you can t buy a new one, she said. It s a dangerous practice.

Other Ohio businesses identified in the court filings were Banana Road, Athens; C&J Enterprise, Canton; Two Cousins and Two Cousins Beauty Supply, Cleveland, and Costume Specialists, Columbus.

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