With the autumn comes Halloween and with that, costumes. It's important to be aware of certain threats to your eyes that could come along with the holiday spirit.
A popular costume prop in recent years has been special effect contact lenses and this is causing serious concern amongst eye care professionals. Contacts are a governmentally regulated medical device. It is against federal law to sell contact lenses without a license which is applicable to most stores where costumes and party goods are sold, however clearly the regulations are not adhered to. Unlicensed production may use subpar materials or even dangerous dyes to dye the contacts. Further, wearing lenses without adequate fitting and care, can cause significant eye damage such as infection, abrasion or even vision loss.
If you do wish to wear special-effect lenses, it is necessary to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor beforehand. After a comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist will determine the correct size, curvature and if required prescription needed for the lens. The optometrist will also provide necessary guidance on how to properly insert, remove and care for contact lenses.
Although many mistakenly perceive decorative contacts as just another cosmetic accessory, improper use of contacts can cause serious harm to your eyes and vision. No item should ever be applied into the eye without proper professional involvement.
Never buy contacts from any place that is not an authorized distributor that you can guarantee sells products approved by the FDA. Non-corrective lenses must also be regulated and require a proper prescription. Steer clear of websites, open markets or party supply stores that may sell unregulated contacts colored with unapproved dyes. To find out if the store has a license to sell contact lenses request the state license number and follow up with the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) of the home state.
If your Halloween costume just won't be complete without special effect lenses, call your trusted optometrist before making any purchase. Halloween shouldn't be a "frightful" night for your eyes. Be aware of the dangers unregulated use of lenses can be to your eyes.