Halloween is a time for fun, parties and dressing up but you should take some precautions so it doesn't lead to some scary damage to your eyes.
Over the past few years, decorative contacts have been increasingly becoming a popular item for costumes particularly with teenagers and young adults and this is causing serious concern amongst optometrists. Contact lenses are a medical device regulated by the government. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without a license which applies to most stores where costumes and party goods are sold, however clearly the laws are not adhered to. Lens manufacturers operating without a license may use inferior materials or even toxic dyes to dye the contacts. Further, wearing lenses without proper instruction and handling, can cause critical eye injury such as infection, abrasion or even blindness.
If you do wish to use cosmetic lenses, it is essential to make an exam appointment with your optometrist first. After a contact lens evaluation and eye exam, the practitioner will determine the proper size, curvature and if needed prescription required for the contacts. The eye doctor will also give necessary guidance on how to properly insert, remove and care for the lenses.
Failure to take adequate precautions in handling lenses can lead to infections, soreness, or more serious corneal abrasions or sores. The eyes are a serious matter and nothing should be put in them without careful guidance from a professional eye care expert.
Never purchase contacts from anyone other than an authorized distributor that you can be sure sells products approved by the FDA. Even non-corrective lenses must conform to health regulations and need a prescription. Beware of e-commerce sites, flea markets or beauty supply stores that may carry homemade contacts tinted with dangerous tinting agents. To determine whether the store has a license to sell contacts ask for their state license number and follow up with the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) of the home state.
If your disguise just won't be complete without special effect contacts, contact your trusted eye care professional to discuss your options. Don't let Halloween be a "scary" night for your eyes. Be aware of how to dress up your eyes safely.