With the fall comes Halloween and with that, costumes. It's important to be aware of certain threats to your eyes that sometimes put a damper on the fun and games.
A popular costume accessory in recent years has been decorative contact lenses and this is causing serious concern amongst eye doctors. Contact lenses are a medical device regulated by the FDA. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without a license which is applicable to costume and party stores, however obviously the regulations are often ignored. Unlicensed production may use subpar plastics or even toxic dyes to color the contacts. Further, use of contacts without proper instruction and treatment, can cause serious injury to the eyes such as infection, abrasion or even blindness.
For those who do decide to use cosmetic contacts, it is essential to make an exam appointment with a licensed eye care professional. After a comprehensive eye exam, the doctor will be able to recommend a lens that fits well and is safe for your eyes. The eye doctor will also provide necessary instructions on how to properly insert, remove and care for the lenses.
Wearing lenses without taking appropriate precautions in applying and storing them can cause painful infections, irritation, or more dangerous eye scratches or sores. Your eyes are something you should take good care of and no item should be put in them without proper instruction from a professional eye care expert.
Never purchase contacts from any place that is not a licensed seller that you can guarantee sells products approved by the FDA. Even when purchasing lenses without corrective power, they must be regulated and need a proper prescription. Beware of e-commerce sites, flea markets or beauty supply stores that may carry unregulated products tinted with unapproved materials. To determine if the retailer is licensed to sell contacts you can find out their state license number and call the state Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) to check.
If your costume just won't be complete without special effect contact lenses, call your trusted optometrist before making any purchase. Don't let Halloween be a "frightful" night for your eyes. Be aware of how to dress up your eyes safely.