Have you been busy planning a fun costume for Halloween? In recent years, more and more people have been turning to decorative contacts to add a new dimension to their costumes. For example, someone dressing up as a cat might use cat-eye lenses, or someone dressing as a vampire might want blood-red contacts. These sorts of lenses typically don’t offer any vision correction; instead, they’re simply used to achieve a specific look — sometimes colorful, sometimes frightful, sometimes simply strange! But if you’re thinking about using decorative contact lenses (or letting your kids use them), it’s important that you understand the very serious risks involved.
What You Need to Know About Decorative Contacts
We know how tempting it is to create the perfect Halloween look using decorative contacts. You might also see these sorts of lenses called fashion contact lenses, color contact lenses, cosmetic contact lenses, theatrical contact lenses, or simply Halloween contact lenses. Whatever the name, these lenses are designed to change the appearance of your eyes. Some simply change the color of the iris, while others add a design, impact the perceived shape of the pupil, or even make the iris appear invisible.
While decorative contacts can look quite striking, it’s important to understand that they can severely damage your eyes if you purchase them without talking to your eye care professional first.
Let’s look at the facts.
Decorative contact lenses are considered medical devices.
This is counterintuitive since many decorative lenses do not provide any vision correction. But regardless, decorative contact lenses are medical devices, and as such, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees their safety and effectiveness, just like regular contact lenses. Any contact lens being sold without a prescription is being sold illegally and may be a threat to your eye health.
You should never wear decorative contacts obtained without a prescription.
Don’t take your vision for granted! If you purchase decorative contacts without a prescription, you’re risking serious damage to your eyes and vision. Potential problems that may result include the following:
- Corneal abrasion (a cut or scratch on the cornea)
- Allergic reactions (such as red, watery, itchy eyes)
- Pain and irritation
- Decreased vision
If you notice that your eyes are red, your vision has worsened, or you’re experiencing eye pain or discharge that doesn’t quickly fade away, contact an eye care professional right away. If an infection is left untreated, it could lead to blindness.
Only wear FDA-approved contacts prescribed by your eye doctor.
If a company doesn’t ask for your prescription and verify it with your eye doctor, the contacts should not be considered safe. Never purchase contact lenses from a street vendor, flea market, or unknown online distributor. Their products could be contaminated or counterfeit. All contact lenses must be prescribed by an eye doctor, whether they’re regular prescription lenses or decorative lenses. They should include a brand name, lens measurements, and an expiration date. If they don’t come with instructions, ask your eye doctor about the correct way to care for them.
Why risk your eye health for one night of Halloween fun? Explore masks and makeup options to upgrade your Halloween costume. Not only will they be cheaper than most decorative contacts, but also they likely won’t pose such a serious risk to your eye health.
Are you looking to update your eyewear? If you live in southwest Missouri, contact Heffington’s today. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an email to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you and helping you explore glasses vs. contacts.