Beware Of Fake Contact Lenses: It Might Cost Your Eyes!

Decorative, non-corrective contact lenses may look like fun, but there are consequences resulting from wearing a cosmetic device in direct contact with your eye.

While it may not be illegal to sell non-corrective cosmetic lenses, the FDA has issued warnings in regard to the sale of many of these devices, in connection with potential cases of mis-branding, which is the definition of selling a non-FDA approved product, under the false pretense that it is safe. This practice is most commonly employed by repackaging a product with misleading labels, and it is often extremely dangerous for consumers.



In a 2006 document issued by the FDA, the agency states that: “…decorative contact lenses should not be marketed or made available to consumers by manufacturers, importers, distributors, or retailers as an over-the counter item…. “

It’s important to understand that contact lenses are not “one size fits all”, and each eye must be measured by a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist who can determine how the eye responds to the lens. Wearing unsafe contact lenses can lead to several complications, including injuries and infections, such as:

  • conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye”
  • poor vision, partial or total loss of vision
  • scratches on the cornea
  • corneal infection

The risks are very real and unfortunately unscrupulous retailers have gotten involved in the sale of unsafe devices to unwitting consumers.

A recent investigation conducted by FDA undercover agents in Corona, dubbed operation “Cat Eyes”, has lead to the filing of 6 cases against 6 companies involved in the unauthorized sale of cosmetic contact lenses to consumers in southern California. 12 individuals are scheduled to be arraigned December 9 before the Los Angeles Federal Court. The defendants accused of selling the adulterated contact lenses include:

Mike Honabach, 45, owner of Halloween and Party Discounters, Inc., who conducted business as a Los Angeles County Fair booth in Pomona, selling bacteria-adulterated contact lenses and misbranded contact lenses.

Eunju Kang Savvidis, 53, manager of Intertrade, introduced adulterated lenses into interstate commerce and sold bacteria-adulterated lenses at a county fair.

Aspirational International, Inc., based in Hong Kong, has been identified as a supplier in the sale operation.

Doris Owusu Ansah, 54, owner of Sunset Beauty Salon in West Covina, was caught selling a misbranded pair of contact lenses.

60-year-old Jung Rae Jo, owner of Fashion Young in Westminster, allegedly sold four pairs of misbranded contact lenses to two undercover federal investigators.

Young Kim, 51, manager of CKL Fashion, Inc., a Corona-based company, was charged with selling two pairs of misbranded contact lenses to an undercover FDA investigator.

HTS General owner Zinaida Khrimyan, 25 Inc., and store manager Patrick Abedi, 30, were charged with selling a pair of misbranded contact lenses.

When planning for cosmetic contact lenses, it’s imperative to see an eye doctor who can provide expert advice on keeping your eyes safe with the right prescription, and the proper directions on how to care and keep your lenses clean.

Contact us for any issues with fake contacts lenses or other vision related issues: 510-654-4747