Halloween is a time for fun, parties and dressing up but you don't want the fun to lead to some scary eye damage.
A popular costume prop in recent years has been special effect contact lenses and the trend is alarming optometrists. Contact lenses are a medical device regulated by the government. It is against federal law for unlicensed distributors to sell contact lenses which is the case with costume and party stores, however the regulations are not adhered to. Lens manufacturers operating outside of regulations may use subpar materials or even dangerous coloring elements to color the contacts. Further, using lenses without adequate fitting and handling, can result in serious eye damage or even blindness.
If you do decide to wear special-effect lenses, it is essential to make an exam appointment with your eye doctor beforehand. After a contact lens evaluation and eye exam, the optometrist will be able to recommend a lens that fits well and is safe for your eyes. The optometrist will also give essential instructions on proper hygiene of the lenses.
Although many people incorrectly consider special effect contact lenses as just another beauty item, uneducated use of lenses can cause significant damage to your eyes and eye sight. Nothing should ever be placed in the eye without proper professional involvement.
Never buy lenses from any place other than an authorized distributor that you can be sure sells products approved by the FDA. Even non-corrective lenses must be regulated and require a prescription. Beware of websites, flea markets or party supply stores that may sell homemade contacts tinted with dangerous dyes. To find out whether the store is licensed to sell lenses you can find out the state license number and call the state Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) to check.
If your Halloween disguise just won't be complete without special effect contacts, consult with your local optometrist to discuss your options. Halloween shouldn't be a "frightful" night for your eyes. Be knowledgable about the hazards unregulated use of contacts can be to your eyes.