Contact lenses can be an important part of maintaining eye health and correcting your vision. However, contact lenses have also become the next trend in Halloween costumes. While it does sound fun to add colored contact lenses for Halloween, there are serious risks you need to know about before you pick up non prescription colored contacts.
The American Optometric Association’s 2014 American Eye-Q® survey found that 11 percent of consumers have worn decorative contact lenses, including non prescription colored contacts. Fifty-three percent of those who tried decorative lenses purchased them without a prescription. As the Halloween season approaches, costume stores, retail outlets, and pharmacies stock Halloween contacts offering a colored eye change for the night without the need to see your eye doctor and get a prescription.
The Hidden Dangers of Halloween Contacts
Consumers thinking that contact lenses are safe may enjoy the convenience of picking up contact lenses without a prescription. Unfortunately, Halloween contacts may not be FDA approved. They may contain material that has not been tested for safety on human eyes. These could cause allergies or an eye infection.
The risks only get worse when you consider what happens during a contact lens fitting. Your optometrist measures you for a pair of contacts that fit your eyes, so you can safely wear them. When you purchase non prescription decorative lenses, there is no fitting. As a result, you can end up scratching your eyes by inserting or removing the lenses. In a worst case scenario, you could get scarring that leaves you with permanent vision impairment.
If you really want colored contacts for Halloween or for anything else, then you need to visit the eye doctor to get properly fitted for them. Your eye doctor will make sure that the lenses are the color you want, have FDA approval, and will fit your eyes. If you do not wear contacts or do not have a prescription, you should still make an eye doctor appointment to get fitted for your decorative lenses and learn how to care for and clean your new contact lenses. You will pay more for the lenses, but you will have the peace of mind of knowing they are medically safe to use and fit for your eyes.
If you or someone you know has decorative contact lenses and feel redness, tingling, pain, or eye pain that does not go away, seek medical attention. You may have an eye infection. Bacterial infections can come on quickly and cause corneal ulcers or even blindness if you do not catch them and treat them rapidly. In as little as 24 hours, you could lose your vision.
Contacts aren’t cosmetics, they are prescription medical devices by law. Businesses selling Halloween lenses without a prescription are flouting the law to sell to you. If you have questions or want to schedule an appointment to discuss your contact lens options, contact our offices in Santa Rosa or Petaluma. We would be happy to schedule an appointment for you or answer any questions you have.
- AOA Campaign to Curb Illegal Contact Lens Purchases
- FDA and Decorative Contact Lenses: Is Your Vision Worth It?