Dressing up for Halloween is an age-old tradition embraced by millions every year. There are so many accessories out there- from fake blood to makeup to costume contact lenses. But even if you do win the costume contest, if you wear novelty costume contacts, you’ll end up losing in the long run.
Many organizations, including the CDC and American Academy of Ophthalmology have put out extensive warnings about the dangers of these costume contact lenses.
What are they?
Cosmetic lenses, as they’re known, are non-prescription contact lenses designed to change the appearance of the iris of the person wearing them. They’re popular with those who’d like to switch up their look or go all-out with a costume. They are affordable and sometimes available without a prescription. The problem is, selling them without permission from a doctor has been illegal since 2005.
Why not use them?
There are huge risks when it comes to wearing cosmetic lenses. First of all, if a doctor is not involved in the process, the lenses may not fit correctly. If not properly fitted, the lenses can scratch or attach tightly to your eyes and be painful to remove.
You also can’t be sure what you’re putting in your eyes, because there is no oversight from the FDA. The retailers who sell them aren’t regulated, and the lenses may not be kept in sterile containers. One study in Japan showed that some of the contact lenses were rinsed with chlorine, which is toxic to the eyes. By using them, you may be putting unknown substances in your eye.
What damage can they cause?
There are lots of potential side effects of these lenses. As mentioned before, they can scratch or attach to your eye and cause stinging from harsh chemicals. If they are not sterile, they can introduce bacteria directly into your eye and cause infections. Some users have even experienced a temporary loss in vision from wearing the costume contacts for an extended period of time.
What if I really want to use them?
If you’re still highly interested in using costume contact lenses, there is a proper (and legal) way to go about this. After you consult an eye doctor, have your eyes measured, get a prescription for contact lenses, then visit a legitimate retailer. Those legally selling novelty contacts must require a prescription and only sell FDA-approved lenses. Any location that doesn’t require a prescription is operating illegally, and you should not be putting those products in your eyes.
There’s more to be scared of this Halloween than made-up monsters and creepy creatures. Keep your eyes safe!