Halloween is a time for getting out and dressing up but you should take some precautions so it doesn't lead to some frightening damage to your eyes.
A popular costume prop as of late has been special effect contact lenses and this is alarming eye doctors. Contacts are a medical device regulated by the government. It is illegal for unlicensed distributors to sell contact lenses which is the case with costume and party stores, however clearly the regulations are not adhered to. Lens manufacturers operating without a license may use subpar materials or even toxic dyes to dye the contacts. Further, wearing contacts without proper fitting and care, can cause serious eye damage or even blindness.
If you do wish to use decorative lenses, it is essential to make an exam appointment with your optometrist beforehand. After a contact lens evaluation and eye exam, the optometrist will determine the proper size, curvature and if necessary prescription required for the lens. The optometrist will also give vital guidance on proper hygiene of contact lenses.
Although many people mistakenly consider non-prescription contact lenses as just another costume item, improper use of lenses can result in serious danger to your eyes and vision. No item should ever be put on or near the eye without proper professional guidance.
Only buy contacts from a licensed distributor that you can guarantee comply with all FDA regulations. Even non-corrective lenses must adhere to health standards and need a prescription. Beware of e-commerce sites, open markets or party supply stores that may carry homemade products colored with dangerous tinting agents. To determine whether the store has a license to sell lenses request the state license number and follow up with the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) of the home state.
If your disguise just won't be the same without special effect lenses, consult with your local eye care professional to discuss your options. Halloween shouldn't be a "frightful" night for your eyes. Be knowledgable about how to dress up your eyes safely.