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This 25-Year-Old Went Blind In One Eye After Wearing Cheap Color Contacts

Warning: Graphic eye photos ahead.

Meet Julian Hamlin, a 25-year-old from Florence, South Carolina, who went blind in his left eye after wearing color contacts he bought at a gas station.

After wearing the same brand of contact lenses for about two years, he woke up in March 2012 with a severe infection.

"It's been a long, painful journey," Hamlin says of the 15 surgeries, including seven corneal transplants, he has needed since 2012.

"Please do not wear these on Halloween — it might be more difficult and expensive to get a prescription, but a $10 pair isn't worth the risk and pain," Hamlin says.

It's actually illegal to sell contact lenses — even novelty ones — without a prescription in the U.S., since they're considered medical devices.

Plus, most cheap novelty contacts you see in stores aren't actually FDA-approved.

Cheap lenses are also more likely trap germs and cause scratching, which can lead to blinding infections.

So if you do plan on wearing costume contacts this Halloween, the American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests the following safety guidelines:

And no matter what, you should always treat your contact lenses with extra care.