Not all contacts are sold legally

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Contacts may seem harmless -- but they can be dangerous if not used properly. If you bought contacts from someone who is not a doctor, it's illegal.

Not only is it against the law -- but you're putting your vision at risk. When it comes to the eyes, Dr. Jeff Michaels, with Family Vision care of Richmond is an expert.

He says contact lenses are always a big hit.

"You think about this little piece of plastic polymer that is laying on the surface of your eyes it is covering the window to your vision," Dr. Michaels said.

Those windows to your vision can come in all different shapes, colors and sizes -- and there's no request that's too surprising.

"They will come to me and say I want cat eyes or during football season they will say I want the ones that are printed with Dallas Cowboys on them," Dr. Michaels said.

Remember, we are talking about your eyes and if you don't get the contacts fitted properly, it can cause major problems and you could go blind.

"You have to think of getting a contact lens that wasn't fitted by a doctor of optometry the same that you would for any kind of drug medicine, you wouldn't want your teenager to go get their drug medicine from somebody in a beauty parlor," he said.

Dr. Michaels didn't know of any places selling the lenses illegally in the metro area --- but it does happen here in Virginia. Our NBC affiliate in Virginia Beach found a store selling contacts illegally.

Dr. Michaels says it's not uncommon to find the illegal contacts being sold at flea markets and beauty shops -- he's treated people who have developed problems after using lenses not issued by a doctor.

"I have had teenagers come in who have bought these contact lenses who have developed corneal ulcers on their eye, which is a sever eye infection," he said.

Many times people don't need a prescription -- but use the lenses for a fashion statement. No matter your reason, contacts are medical devices that must be fitted by a doctor -- and remember, never share them.

"If you think about some diseases that can be transferred through the eyes or saliva, they can also be transferred through the contact lens," he said.

They're your eyes and if you want to change them it's your right -- but medical experts say changing them legally -- can keep you out of the emergency room and save your sight. For more information, click the links below.

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