AOA, FDA and Hollywood Campaign Warns of Risk from Decorative Contact Lenses
May 5, 2014 Cristina Patterson

AOA, FDA and Hollywood Campaign Warns of Risk from Decorative Contact Lenses

Posted in News

  Watch the video here

LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), American Optometric Association (AOA) and the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) have teamed with entertainment industry-leading artists from the TV series American Horror Story on a first-of-its-kind Decorative Contact Lens Campaign to bring the dramatic realities of illegal and unsafe lens use to the forefront. 

Entertainment industry-leading makeup artists and eye-care professionals release dramatic public service campaign targeting dangerous practices with decorative contact lens use in teens and young adults 

Often called “decorative,” “fashion,” or “cosplay” lenses, these contacts change the appearance of the eyes to give them a vampire, cat, white-out, or alternate color “look.” Used often in Hollywood characters from X-Men to American Horror Story, and reality shows like FaceOff, eye-changing lenses create certain character traits or appearances that, in some instances, become iconic and sought-after “looks” by fans. 

“Artists and technicians work closely with each other, the actors, and doctors to ensure proper fit, vision and safety. We wouldn’t put our actors’ health in danger, and the viewers who want to emulate these characters shouldn’t either,” said technician Christien Tinsley, Tinsley Studios and Makeup Effects artist American Horror Story. 

“All contact lenses, even cosmetic ones, are prescription devices by federal law, so get an eye exam, get a valid contact lens prescription and receive proper contact lens handling and care instructions from a licensed eye care professional. Then buy your lenses from a seller that requires you to provide a prescription,” said Helene Clayton- Jeter, O.D., Health Programs Coordinator, U.S. Food & Drug Administration. “The purpose of this important public health campaign is to raise awareness, especially among American youth and their parents, of the severe consequences that can result from purchasing and using decorative contact lenses that are not obtained through a valid prescription,”

Contact lenses can cause serious eye damage if they’re not fitted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. If they aren’t cleaned and cared for properly, they can cause potentially vision-threatening infections. This is a message the entertainment industry, EIC, FDA and AOA are seeking to impart through the campaign. 

The premier of the first public service announcement in the series will be held April 22 at the 18th Annual PRISM Awards in Los Angeles. Featuring Cristina Patterson, contact lens painter for the top movies and TV shows. This edgy production uses expert guidance and captivating clips from the hit television series American Horror Story, to bring the power and influence of entertainment to communicate these important health messages.  The first national viewing will occur at the National Cable & Telecommunications Cable Show in Los Angeles, April 30, at which time the 30 second PSA will be available for viewing and sharing at EICnetwork.tv, along with additional content. A longer three-minute version will subsequently be released. 

“The entertainment industry has a unique opportunity to bridge a gap and reach teens and young adults through the characters and shows with which they identify and in the digital spaces where they spend their time,” commented Marie Gallo Dyak, Executive Vice President, Program Services & Government Relations, Entertainment Industries Council. “We are harnessing the power of media to change the attitudes and behaviors of these young people, and, hopefully, encourage them to lead healthier lives,” Dyak concluded. 

“We are looking forward to spreading the message of contact lens safety far and wide, and value the contributions of the media and federal officials, to support this important mission. This is only the beginning. The second video in the series will be featured at our national conference in June and we’ll be consistently reinforcing the campaign message year-round,” Michael Duenas, OD, AOA’s chief public health officer stated. 

About Entertainment Industries Council 

EIC is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 by leaders within the entertainment industry to bring the power and influence of the industry to communicate about health and social issues. The organization is considered to be the chief pioneer of entertainment and journalism outreach and a premiere success story in the field of entertainment education. This mission relies on providing resource information to the creative community and culminates in recognition of the industry through the national television special PRISM Showcase which addresses accurate portrayals of substance use issues and mental health concerns. The organization also produces the SET Awards, honoring positive and non-stereotypical portrayals of science, engineering and technology. 

For a complete list of health and social issues addressed by EIC and local projects please visit First Draft and EIC’s website at www.eiconline.org or the internet television network at EICnetwork.tv. The PRISM Awards web site is www.prismawards.com. The SET Awards web site is www.eicsetawards.com.