Use Caution with Decorative Contact Lenses for Halloween
Many of your friends and family like to use decorative contact lenses as part of their Halloween costumes. Fashion or decorative contact lenses give you the ability to change your “look” by changing your eye color or even creating patterns or logos on your eyes without correcting vision. BUT, decorative contact lenses need to be used with caution and a sound understanding of how to use them safely and avoid eye problems and injury.
Facts & Tips for Halloween Contact Lens Eye Safety
Decorative contact lenses are not cosmetics or “over the counter” merchandise. They are medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Places that advertise them as cosmetics or sell them without a prescription are breaking the law.
They are not “one size fits all.” An eye doctor, either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist, must measure each eye to properly fit the lenses and evaluate how your eye responds to contact lens wear. A poor fit can cause serious eye damage, including;
a scratched cornea
a corneal infection
pink eye conjunctivitis
Places that sell decorative lenses without a prescription may give you few or no instructions on how to clean and care for your lenses. Failure to use the proper solution and care regimen to keep contact lenses clean and moist can lead to infections.
Where NOT to Buy Decorative Contact Lenses
salons or beauty supply stores
record or video stores
Internet (unless the site requires a prescription)
These are not authorized distributors of contact lenses, which are prescription devices by federal law.
How to Buy Decorative Contact Lenses Safely. Get an eye exam from a licensed eye doctor, either an ophthalmologist or optometrist, even if you feel your vision is perfect to make sure your eyes are healthy enough to wear contacts. Get a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and an expiration date. But don’t expect your eye doctor to prescribe anime, or circle, lenses. These bigger-than-normal lenses that give the wearer a wide-eyed, doll-like look have not been approved by FDA. Buy the lenses from a seller that requires you to provide a prescription, whether you go in person or shop online. Follow directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses, and visit your eye doctor for follow-up eye exams. See your eye doctor right away if you have signs of possible eye infection including:
eye pain that doesn’t go away after a short time
decrease in vision
The safe and effective use of contact lenses-whether decorative or not-requires proper fitting and education about their care to prevent the potential for serious eye problems from becoming a reality. If you or someone you know wishes to learn more or be fit with any type of contact lenses-including decorative contacts-please schedule an eye exam at The Eye Care & Surgery Center at 908-789-8999, visit The Eye Care & Surgery Center, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecareandsurgerycenter to schedule an appointment.
The Eye Care & Surgery Center is located at 592 Springfield Avenue, Westfield, New Jersey 07090, 10 Mountain Boulevard, Warren, New Jersey 07059 and 517 Route One South, Suite 1100, Iselin, New Jersey 08830, and is conveniently located for patients from throughout central and northern New Jersey.