Decorative contact lenses and Halloween really seem to go together in October as people prepare interesting costumes and “looks’ for various celebrations. Decorative or “fashion” contacts let you change your “look” by changing eye color, giving you a “ghoulish” appearance or even creating patterns or logos on your eyes. BUT-contact lens safety is not to be taken for granted when it comes to decorative contact lenses and you need to have a clear understanding of how to use them safely.
Facts & Tips for Halloween Contact Lens Eye Safety
- Decorative contact lenses are not cosmetics or “over the counter” merchandise. They are medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Places that advertise them as cosmetics or sell them without a prescription are breaking the law.
- They are not “one size fits all.” An eye doctor, either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist, must measure each eye to properly fit the lenses and evaluate how your eye responds to contact lens wear. A poor fit can cause serious eye damage, including;
- a scratched cornea
- a corneal infection
- pink eye conjunctivitis
- decreased vision
- Places that sell decorative lenses without a prescription may give you few or no instructions on how to clean and care for your lenses. Failure to use the proper solution and care regimen to keep contact lenses clean and moist can lead to infections.
- Where NOT to Buy Decorative Contact Lenses
- street vendors
- salons or beauty supply stores
- flea markets
- novelty stores
- Halloween stores
- record or video stores
- convenience stores
- beach shops
- Internet (unless the site requires a prescription)
These are not authorized distributors of contact lenses, which are prescription devices by federal law.
- How to Buy Decorative Contact Lenses Safely. Get an eye exam from a licensed eye doctor, either an ophthalmologist or optometrist, even if you feel your vision is perfect to make sure your eyes are healthy enough to wear contacts. Get a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and an expiration date. But don’t expect your eye doctor to prescribe anime, or circle, lenses. These bigger-than-normal lenses that give the wearer a wide-eyed, doll-like look have not been approved by FDA. Buy the lenses from a seller that requires you to provide a prescription, whether you go in person or shop online. Follow directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses, and visit your eye doctor for follow-up eye exams. See your eye doctor right away if you have signs of possible eye infection including:
- eye pain that doesn’t go away after a short time
- decrease in vision
The safe and effective use of contact lenses-whether decorative or not-requires proper fitting and education about their care to prevent the potential for serious eye problems from becoming a reality. If you or someone you know wishes to learn more or be fit with any type of contact lenses-including decorative contacts, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+ or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.
The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.