Halloween is a night for getting out and getting dressed up but you don't want the fun to lead to some frightening eye damage.
A popular costume prop as of late has been decorative contact lenses and the trend is alarming optometrists. Contact lenses are a medical device regulated by the FDA. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without a license which is applicable to most outlets where costumes and party goods are sold, however clearly the regulations are often ignored. Lens manufacturers operating outside of regulations may use subpar materials or even dangerous dyes to color the contacts. Further, wearing lenses without adequate fitting and treatment, can result in critical eye damage such as infection, abrasion or even blindness.
For those who do wish to use special-effect contacts, it is necessary to make an exam appointment with your eye doctor beforehand. After a contact lens evaluation and eye exam, the practitioner will determine the correct size, curvature and if necessary prescription required for the contacts. The eye doctor will also give necessary guidance on how to properly insert, remove and care for contact lenses.
Using contact lenses without taking proper precautions in handling them can result in infections, soreness, or more severe eye abrasions or sores. Your eyes are something you should take good care of and nothing should be placed in them without careful guidance from a professional eye care expert.
Never buy contacts from any place other than a licensed distributor that you can guarantee sells products approved by the FDA. Even non-corrective lenses must be regulated and need a proper prescription. Beware of websites, flea markets or party supply stores that may sell unregulated products made with unapproved dyes. To determine whether the store has a license to sell lenses you can request their state license number and follow up with the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) of the home state.
If your Halloween costume just won't be the same without special effect contact lenses, call your local optical store before making any purchase. Halloween shouldn't be a "frightful" night for your eyes. Be aware of the dangers unsupervised contact use can be to your eyes.