Halloween is a time for getting out and dressing up but you wouldn't want the fun to end in some frightening eye damage.
Over the past few years, special effect contact lenses have been increasingly becoming a popular item for costumes especially with teenagers and young adults and this is alarming eye care professionals. Contact lenses are a medical device regulated by the FDA. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without a license which applies to most stores where costumes and party goods are sold, however obviously the laws are often ignored. Lens manufacturers operating outside of regulations may use inferior plastics or even dangerous coloring elements to color the lenses. Further, using contacts without proper instruction and handling, can result in serious damage to the eyes or even vision loss.
If you do wish to wear decorative contacts, it is important to make an exam appointment with your eye care practitioner beforehand. After a comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist will determine the correct size, curvature and if needed prescription required for the contacts. The eye doctor will also provide essential guidance on how to properly insert, remove and care for contact lenses.
Using lenses without taking adequate measures in applying and storing them can lead to painful infections, inflammation, or more dangerous corneal scratches or sores. The eyes are very sensitive and no item should be applied in them without proper instruction from a professional eye care expert.
Only purchase contacts from an authorized seller that you can be sure sells products approved by the FDA. Non-corrective lenses must also adhere to health regulations and need a proper prescription. Beware of websites, open markets or beauty supply stores that may carry homemade products made with dangerous materials. To determine whether the retailer is licensed to sell contacts you can ask for their state license number and follow up with the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) of the home state.
If your costume just won't be the same without decorative contacts, consult with your local eye care professional before making any purchase. Don't let Halloween be a "frightful" night for your eyes. Be aware of how to dress up your eyes safely.