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Costume contact lenses: How to wear them safely

In our last blog article, we wrote about the dangers of using over-the-counter costume contact lenses. These popular Halloween accessories can cause severe damage to the eye and even blindness.

However, there are products available that can be used safely when approved by an eye care professional. Parents with teenagers should take note of their children’s plans for Halloween. If you believe your child may purchase decorative contact lenses at a novelty store or non-reputable online store, discuss with them the dangers of using these products.

For anyone that does plan on using cosmetic contacts, it’s important to take the time and learn what safe options are available to you. Get costume contact lenses prescribed by an eye care professional. It’s crucial that your lenses fit properly, and your individual prescription can only be determined by an eye exam. If you already have your eye prescription, then simply refer to your prescription when making your purchase. Skipping this step and buying lenses online or over the counter can set you up for serious eye problems, infections or even permanent vision loss. (American Academy of Ophthalmology)

Even when taking safety precautions, remember, contact lenses are medical devices that require a commitment to proper care by the patient. Even under the best supervision, injury and infections can occur. Be sure to only buy costume contacts from retailers who require a prescription to purchase the lenses and who only sell FDA-approved contact lenses.

Circle contact lenses have been illegal in the United State since 2005. These lenses cover a larger portion of the eye, increasing the risk for scratches and other damage. While these lenses are not legal, many online and physical retailers still sell the products, unaware of the dangers. If you find these products for sale at a retailer that is not requiring a prescription, you can report the retailer to the FDA MedWatch program.

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