COLUMBUS, Ohio -- High school sophomore Robyn Rouse's eyes hurt soon after she put in the pair of green contact lenses she had bought at a grocery store to match her tennis shoes.
She removed the non-prescription lenses that night and awoke the next morning in pain, her eye swollen with an infection that would require a year of treatment and a cornea transplant to save her vision.
"It's a cheap way to really change the way you look," said Rouse, 15, of Cleveland, who paid $25 for the over-the-counter lenses. "I see girls with them on all the time. They are easy to get."
So easy, in fact, that officials fear their unregulated sale in stores, flea markets and over the Internet is threatening the eyesight of scores of youths, and the government has begun to crack down.