With the fall comes Halloween and with that, costumes. It's important to be aware of some dangers to your eyes and vision that could come along with the fun and games.
A popular costume accessory in recent years has been special effect contact lenses and this is causing serious concern amongst eye doctors. Contacts are a medical device regulated by the FDA. It is against federal law to sell contact lenses without a license which is the case with costume and party stores, however the laws are not adhered to. Lens manufacturers operating outside of regulations may use inferior materials or even dangerous dyes to color the contacts. Additionally, wearing contacts without adequate instruction and adhering to proper hygiene, can cause significant eye injury such as infection, abrasion or even blindness.
If you do wish to use decorative lenses, it is necessary to make an exam appointment with your eye doctor first. After a comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist will be able to recommend a lens that fits well and is safe for your eyes. The practitioner will also give necessary instructions on how to properly insert, remove and care for contacts.
Wearing lenses without making sure to take proper measures in applying and storing them can result in infections, inflammation, or more severe eye abrasions or ulcers. The eyes are a serious matter and no item should be applied in them without careful guidance from a professional eye care expert.
Never purchase lenses from any place other than a licensed distributor 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. Steer clear of websites, flea markets or beauty supply stores that may carry unregulated products colored with dangerous tinting agents. To find out if the retailer 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 disguise just won't be complete without decorative lenses, consult with your local optometrist to discuss your options. Don't let Halloween be a "frightful" night for your eyes. Be knowledgable about the hazards uneducated use of contacts can be to your eyes.