FROM: Dan Morales, Attorney General of Texas

Bruce A. Levy, M.D., J.D., Executive Director, Texas State Board of Medical Examiners

Lois Ewald, Executive Director, Texas Optometry Board

Dennis E. Baker, Chief, Bureau of Food and Drug Safety, Texas Department of Health

Stephen Mills, Program Administrator, Contact Lens Permits, Texas Department of Health

DATE: September 7, 1998

RE: Health Risks to Students Using Colored or Patterned "Cosmetic" Contact Lenses

The state agencies listed above wish to alert you about possible health risks that may affect the well-being of your students. We have reports of illegal sales of colored and patterned non-corrective contact lenses (commonly known as "cosmetic" contact lenses) targeted to junior high and high school students throughout Texas. These contact lenses are not intended to improve vision; they are worn to change a personís eye color or alter the appearance of the eye, as in the popular "Bullseye" patterned lenses. Additionally, we have learned that sharing of the lenses is commonplace and that many students consider it fun and stylish to share or trade contact lenses and change their eye color or appearance from day to day.

We have reports that persons not authorized by law to sell contact lenses are using classified advertising in school newspapers and free neighborhood publications. We request that your school newspapers refuse to accept advertising for the sale of any type of contact lens, unless the advertiser publishes his or her license or permit number in the ad. The Texas Department of Health investigates these cases and works to ensure that all contact lens dispensers are in compliance with the law. If you are aware of any person or firm who is marketing "cosmetic" contact lenses to your students or if you have any questions about the information in this notice, please contact Stephen Mills, Program Administrator, Texas Department of Health at (512) 834-4515.

Lastly, we request that you make this important information available to students, parents, school nurses, and educators. Please consider distributing it to students and parents directly or through parent-teacher associations, featuring it in your school newspapers, and including it in the course of study in your health classes. Thank you for your time and for your efforts on behalf of the young citizens of Texas.

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