As if the fact that people are still wearing colored contacts in 2011 wasn’t sad enough, a Queens teen has suffered vision loss after purchasing an illegal pair from a beauty supply store. PIX11 News reports that fourteen-year-old Erica Barnes purchased the lenses for $20 in hopes of emulating Rihanna’s hazel-eyed look.

It is illegal to sell contacts without a prescription, yet they are widely available at beauty supply stores and on the internet. If contact lenses do not fit properly or are not cleaned, they can cause major problems. Barnes wore her pair for one day and suffered a scratch that may require her to have a cornea transplant.

Dr. Roy Chuck of the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx tells ABC that a scratch to the eye like Barnes suffered can invite serious infections “Once that protective barrier is defeated, bacteria can just flow in. You can treat the infection. But part of healing is making a scar, and that can block vision.” Doctors won’t be sure if she needs the surgery for up to six months, but she will be in excruciating pain in the meantime.

“The density of nerves on the surface of the eye is higher than almost any other place on the body,” said Chuck. A small scratch can feel like 1,000 toothaches. And a big scratch, Chuck said he could “only imagine what it would be like for a 14-year-old.”

If you must get your Pecola Breedlove on, please go to a doctor and do it properly. Beauty supply contacts are not only ridiculous looking, but they can cause you a world of trouble.

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