With the fall comes Halloween and with that, dressing up. It's important to be aware of some hazards to your eyes and vision that could put a damper on the fun and games.
Over the past few years, decorative contact lenses have been increasingly becoming a popular accessory for costumes especially with teenagers and young adults and the trend is causing serious concern amongst optometrists. Contact lenses are a medical device regulated by the FDA. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without a license which applies to costume and party supply stores, however obviously the laws are often ignored. Lens manufacturers operating without a license may use inferior materials or even dangerous coloring elements to color the contacts. Additionally, use of contacts without proper fitting and adhering to proper hygiene, can cause critical eye injury or even vision loss.
If you do decide to wear cosmetic lenses, it is important to schedule an appointment with a licensed eye care professional. After a comprehensive eye exam, the doctor will determine the proper size, curvature and if required prescription required for the contacts. The eye doctor will also provide vital guidance on proper hygiene of contacts.
Wearing contacts without taking appropriate precautions in applying and storing them can result in infections, irritation, or more severe corneal scratches or sores. The eyes are a serious matter and no item should be applied in them without careful guidance from a professional eye care expert.
Only buy contacts from an authorized seller that you can be sure comply with all FDA regulations. Even when purchasing lenses without corrective power, they must adhere to health standards and need a proper prescription. Beware of websites, flea markets or party supply stores that may sell homemade contacts made with dangerous dyes. To determine if the store is licensed to sell contacts ask for their state license number and follow up with the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) of the home state.
If your Halloween disguise just won't be the same without decorative contacts, consult with your trusted eye care professional to discuss your options. Halloween shouldn't be a "frightful" night for your eyes. Be aware of the hazards unsupervised contact use can be to your eyes.