How social media can combat illegal contact lens sales

The AOA recently launched social media efforts to alert consumers of the risks of contact lenses sold without prescriptions, using a Facebook advertisement targeting visitors to an online sales site. Since being posted on the AOA Facebook page on May 5, 2014, the advertisement has reached 14,624 Facebook users.

"Even though these are non-corrective lenses, they still pose the same potential health and safety risks as other contact lenses."

The AOA has worked tirelessly to combat the sale of contact lenses without prescriptions. Previous efforts include a partnership with the FDA and Department of Homeland Security to end the importation and sale of illegal novelty and counterfeit contact lenses.  

"The AOA has been the leading voice nationally in urging federal agencies to do more to target illegal contact lens sales and sellers and help safeguard consumers," says Jon Hymes, AOA Washington office director.  

The AOA also helped put an end to illegal decorative contact lens sales at the national retailer Urban Outfitters. After AOA President Mitchell T. Munson, O.D., wrote a letter to the company's CEO, sales were halted (member login required).  

"Even though these are non-corrective lenses, they still pose the same potential health and safety risks as other contact lenses," said Glenda Secor, O.D., chair of the AOA's Contact Lens and Cornea Section in a previous story on aoa.org/news.  

"When purchased over-the-counter, decorative contact lenses can put people at risk for bacterial infections, allergic reactions, or even significant damage to the eye's ability to function, with the potential for irreversible sight loss," Dr. Secor said. "Sadly, numerous cases of this have been documented."  

The Facebook ad has successfully spread the message to a large group of people—92 percent of whom are not fans of the AOA Facebook page.  

Do your part by sharing the Facebook post onto your own Facebook page and across your social channels. 

May 15, 2014

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