Contact Lens Liability: Don’t Put Yourself At Risk
What Every Haunt Owner Needs To Know To Protect Their Business
By Benjamin Selecky & Alexis Abare
Haunted Attraction owners are putting themselves at risk and don’t even know it. They have not been given information about the law and risks associated with dispensing contact lenses to their actors. The risks are real, and the ramifications are massive.
Considering the severity of violating the law in this area, we are shocked that this topic has not been talked about very much publicly in the haunt circles. We will do our best to arm you with information. What you do with it is up to you!
Under Federal Law, ALL contact lenses are considered medical devices, and require a prescription. Yes… this applies to non-corrective, also referred to as plano, lenses. Under the FTC Contact Lens Rule, before lenses can be dispensed, the person’s prescription must be verified. There are a list of requirements and nuances that are encompassed under this requirement… but we won’t get into the fine details in this article.
The penalty for violating this rule is $16,000 PER INFRACTION! Yes… you read that right… per INFRACTION! You don’t have to be a math genius to see that penalties pile up very quickly and can spell disaster for any person or business that is illegally dispensing contact lenses. We have not met one single haunt owner that has been aware of this massive penalty, or the potential havoc it could wreak on them and their business.
Dispensing Contact Lenses
Everything is okay… until it’s not. “I have used contacts before without any problems.” We hear this all the time. This logic and rationale can also be applied to drunk driving, russian roulette, and unprotected sex. Your past experience successfully using contact lenses does not guarantee that you will not have problems in the future. This should be self evident… but the amount of times we hear people use this logic is mind blowing.
If you dispense contact lenses to your actors, you have assumed the liability. You made the choice to dispense a medical device. No corporate veil will protect you. Violators of the Contact Lens Rule have had their personal assets seized, personal and business bank accounts frozen, and had their businesses destroyed. Are you willing to take this risk?
Liability aside… if one of your actors goes blind from a contact lens that you gave them… do you want that on your conscience?
We see illegal sellers of contact lenses all the time. There are some sure fire signs that the company is illegitimate or that they are operating in a dangerous area. The first should be that they don’t verify prescriptions. They may refer to their lenses as “non-prescription” and tell you that since they are not corrective that you don’t need a prescription in order to buy them. This is blatantly false.
Another common thing that we have seen is companies using the FDA logo on their website and marketing material. This is illegal. It is also illegal to call their lenses “FDA Approved” because the FDA doesn’t “approve” lenses… they “CLEAR” them for sale and issue a 510(k) certificate. It is also illegal for you to have your customers sign a waiver of liability. Don’t fall into this trap. This piece of paper is USELESS and does not protect you from anything.
Targeting Haunt Owners
We have also seen some companies specifically targeting haunt owners via email and trying to get them to buy lenses in bulk to dispense to their actors. You already know this is dangerous. Sometimes these companies are operating overseas and are out of the reach of U.S. authorities… but that doesn’t remove the liability from you if you choose to purchase and dispense them illegally. Don’t fall victim to this!
Cash and carry without verification is also highly illegal, and should be an indication to you that the vendor is careless with the law. Where else are they ignoring the law… or safety in general? We see a lot of these vendors at various trade shows and conventions across the country. It amazes us that the organizers of the shows allow this to continue. They would not let someone set up shop and illegally sell prescription drugs from the corner booth… this is no different.
During your search for reputable vendors, look for ones that sell FDA CLEARED lenses… if they use the word “APPROVED” then move on! If they use the FDA logo…keep looking. Make sure that they verify prescriptions 100% of the time… not just when it is convenient for them.
Legitimate vendors don’t just follow the law some of the time. If they are willing to compromise your safety and skirt the law to make a few quick bucks online or at a show, we suggest you take your business elsewhere. Vendors like this are part of the problem, and damage the industry as a whole. Doing the right thing is always the right thing.
Full disclosure… we acquired Vampfangs in July of 2017. Vampfangs was established in Salem, MA in 1993, and we are celebrating our 25th Anniversary this year in 2018! We operate in full compliance with all regulations and laws as applicable, and verify prescriptions 100% of the time… no exceptions… so PLEASE don’t ask. You must understand the position that this puts us in.
Vampfangs.com isn’t the only reputable seller out there. If you do your homework, you may find others. However, we will not recommend anyone else here by name… because the only company we can have 100% faith in is our own.
As a business owner and breadwinner, it is your responsibility to protect your business and your family. Once you fully understand the risks involved with buying and dispensing contact lenses, making the right choice should be easy. If you still choose to do the wrong thing after being fully informed… you will find no sympathy from us. We will save that for the person that you injure or cause to go blind.
We are here to help. Reach out anytime if you have any questions, or you need any guidance. This invitation goes out to all haunts… not just farms. We don’t want to see anyone making bad choices because they aren’t armed with the knowledge and information they need to operate safely.
You vision and your business are precious… protect them at all costs!