With Halloween approaching, many are getting into the spirit by looking for costumes that frighten. Whether choosing a scary witch, chilling vampire or a creepy zombie costume, there is one spooky accessory that is considered dangerous and should not be used.
Decorative, or costume contact lenses are very popular this time of year because of their ability to change the color or overall appearance of your eyes. Many people use them to create a “frightening look”, but this attempt to terrify can come at a cost to your vision.
It is important to know that contact lenses are medical devices intended to correct your vision and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They should not be worn unless prescribed by an eye doctor. Retailers that advertise them as cosmetics or sell them over-the-counter, without a prescription are breaking the law. The issue with these “fashion” lenses is that they are advertised as one size fits all, but this is not accurate. Before wearing contact lenses, your doctor should measure each eye to properly fit the lenses and evaluate how your eye responds to them. A poor fit can cause serious eye damage, including:
- Scratches on the cornea (the clear dome of tissue over the iris—the part of the eye that gives you your eye color)
- Sorneal infection (an ulcer or sore on the cornea)
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Decreased vision
According to an article published by the FDA, “The problem isn’t with the decorative contacts themselves. It’s the way people use them improperly—without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care.” Many of the issues arise due to a lack of care instructions on decorative contact lens packaging.
The FDA warns to never buy these types of contact lenses from street vendors, beauty supply stores, novelty or Halloween stores, or an internet site that does not require a prescription.
If you are determined to get decorative contact lenses to complete your scary look this Halloween, speak to your eye doctor and get a prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and an expiration date. Then go to a seller that requires you have a prescription. Failure to do so, and the biggest scare could be the damage you do to your eyesight.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.