Halloween is a great holiday for children and adults. It’s fun to dress up in fantastic costumes and transform into any number of creatures and characters. Make-up can transform one’s face, but leave the eyes alone. Although there are many costume contacts on the market today, they come with their own dangers, including eye infections and vision loss. They may be tempting to use because of the dramatic looks they can create, but it’s best to leave costume contacts on the side and create dramatic looks with great make-up, hair colors and costumes.
Putting anything directly on your eye that has not been provided by a licensed, trained optometrist can expose your eye to infection and possibly vision loss. This year, discoveryeye.org is warning people against the dangers of purchasing costume contacts from street vendors, online sites and other non-clinical sources. You should not purchase contacts from the following sources:
- Street vendors
- Salons or beauty supply stores
- Flea markets
- Novelty stores
- Halloween stores
- Convenience stores
- Beach shops
- Internet sites that do not require a prescription
Wearing costume contact lenses not provided by a licensed professional can be extremely risky and can permanently damage your vision. Other risks include:
- Cutting or scratching the cornea
- Eye infections
- Decreased vision
Contact lenses are not a beauty accessory. They are a medical “device” that should be obtained with a prescription only. If you are absolutely set on using costume contact lenses, ask your optometrist. Many provide them safely, appropriately and fit them to the specific contour of your eye. Here are the guidelines to follow for safe contact lenses any time of year:
- Contact lenses should be fitted specifically to your eye by a licensed professional.
- They must be FDA approved for safe use.
- You should only wear contact lenses that are purchased with a prescription. Even if you don’t wear prescription glasses, contact lenses should have a prescription to ensure that they fit the contour of your eye and will not damage your cornea.
- Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning and disinfecting the contact lenses. Insert them according to the optometrist and the manufacturer’s directions.
- Remove the lenses immediately if your eyes become red or there is a discharge.
- Don’t share your contact lenses and don’t borrow another person’s lenses.
We think Halloween is fun. What other day of the year can one dress up as anything from Big Bird to a pirate and get away with it? However, a great costume is not worth losing or impairing one’s vision. Every day we work with people who have low vision and we know how challenging it can be. Our mission is to enhance their low vision with advanced medical devices that make it easy to see, read and sometimes even drive. We know that the technology available today allows those living with low vision to participate fully in daily life. If you have full vision protect it vigorously and don’t endanger it for one night of revelry.