Senator Saland's Legislation Prohibiting The Sale Of Nonprescription Cosmetic Contact Lenses Is Signed By The Governor

Stephen M. Saland

September 29, 2005

Senator Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that his legislation (S. 317) to prohibit the sale of non-prescription contact lenses has been signed by the Governor.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned of the risks of permanent eye injury when lenses are distributed without a prescription and without proper fitting by an eye care professional. The FDA has received reports of corneal ulcers associated with wearing decorative contact lenses for long periods of time. Corneal ulcers can progress rapidly, leading to internal ocular infection if left untreated. In extreme cases this can lead to blindness and eye loss. Additional risks include conjunctivitis (infection), corneal edema (swelling) and corneal abrasion from poor lens fit.

In October 2002 the FDA issued an alert instructing FDA and customs officials to detain all decorative contact lenses presented at United States ports of entry. This legislation would compliment efforts by the FDA by regulating the use of cosmetic contact lenses in New York State.

"I am pleased that Governor Pataki has signed this legislation which will require that those who purchase nonprescription cosmetic contact lenses consult a health care professional," said Senator Saland. "This will prevent, particularly among teenagers, the misuse of these lenses, thereby avoiding the potential for signficant eyesight damage."

Those who sell and market cosmetic lenses could be charged with a Class E Felony under this legislation.