Halloween is a fun time of year! We all enjoy the candy and the costumes, but the American Academy of Ophthalmology has sent out a recent warning to all of its members and the press reminding people to be cautious about decorative contact lenses. Topping off a costume with blood-drenched vampire eyes or lizard lenses may be unique and fun, but getting the lenses without a prescription can be dangerous.
A recent communication from the Academy of Ophthalmology included the following information: “Most people believe that decorative lenses don’t require the same level of care or consideration as corrective contact lenses because they can be purchased over-the-counter or on the Internet. This is far from the truth,” said Thomas Steinemann, MD, professor of ophthalmology, MetroHealth Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and a clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “In fact, permanent eye damage can occur from using over-the-counter lenses. We want to discourage all consumers, especially teens, from buying contact lenses in beauty salons, novelty shops or in Halloween stores.”
“In 2005, a federal law was passed that classified all contact lenses as medical devices and restricted their distribution to licensed eye care professionals. Illegal sale of contacts can result in civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation. Consumers should only buy decorative contact lenses from an eye care professional or a seller who asks for a prescription.”
But probably the most important thing to think about is if you do wear contact lenses, from any source, if they are causing any irritation, remove them immediately. People get into problems with contacts when they fail to take simple precautions and keep the lenses in their eyes even though they are uncomfortable.
Have a safe and wonderful Halloween, Trick or Treat!

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