Cat Eyes or Vampire Eyes for Halloween? Costume Lenses Must Have a Prescription
Halloween is just around the corner, and many Texans might be tempted to purchase costume or decorative contact lenses as part of their costume. But the reality is that a contact lens is a medical device that requires proper fitting and a prescription by an eye care professional, such as an ophthalmologist. Otherwise, an improperly worn contact lens can cause damage to an eye.
The federal government has banned the sale of contact lenses without a prescription since 2005. An illegally sold costume lens is bypassing critical safeguards, such as lens fitting and instructions about wear and care.
How Can Illegal Halloween Contacts Be Dangerous?
Packaging that claims 'one size fits all' or 'no need to see an eye doctor' is wrong. Non-prescription costume contacts can cut, scratch and infect your eye if they don't fit exactly right. They should be customized and tailored to each individual.
Mis-sized lenses can cause corneal abrasions, corneal ulcers and potentially blinding painful bacterial infections like keratitis. Costume or theatrical contact lenses also might let less oxygen through to the eye, because the paints and pigments used to add color make the lenses thicker and less breathable.
If you’re buying lenses that haven’t been approved by the FDA or you’re purchasing through an entity that isn’t regulated by the FDA, you can’t be sure what you’re receiving. The lenses you get may not be what you ordered, they may not be clean or correctly packaged and they may not be the right size or shape for your eye to begin with. The risks aren’t worth it.
Enjoy Halloween Lenses the Correct Way
Millions of Americans wear properly fitted contact lenses every year for therapeutic purposes. If you want to enhance your Halloween costume with costume lenses, ensure that you are following these measures:
- Get an eye exam from a licensed eye care professional such as an ophthalmologist — an eye medical doctor — who will measure each eye and talk to you about proper contact lens care.
- Obtain a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements and expiration date.
- Purchase the colored contact lenses from a retailer who asks for a prescription.
- Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses.
- Never share contact lenses with another person.
- Get follow-up exams as directed with your eye care provider.