With the fall comes Halloween and with that, costumes. As a consumer, you want to be aware of certain hazards to your eyes that sometimes come along with the Halloween spirit.
A popular costume addition in recent years has been special effect contact lenses and this is causing serious concern amongst optometrists. Contact lenses are a medical device regulated by the government. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without a license which is the case with most stores where costumes and party goods are sold, however obviously the laws are often ignored. Unlicensed production may use inferior plastics or even dangerous dyes to dye the contacts. Additionally, wearing contacts without adequate fitting and care, can result in critical harm to the eyes such as infection, abrasion or even blindness.
If you do wish to wear decorative lenses, it is important to make an exam appointment with your optometrist first. After a comprehensive eye exam, the practitioner will determine the proper size, curvature and if necessary prescription required for the contacts. The practitioner will also provide necessary guidance on proper hygiene of contacts.
Use of contacts without taking proper precautions in applying and storing them can result in painful infections, irritation, or more severe corneal abrasions or ulcers. The eyes are a serious matter and no item should be applied in them without careful instruction from an eye care professional.
Only buy contacts from an authorized distributor that you can guarantee comply with all FDA regulations. Non-corrective lenses must also be regulated and need a prescription. Steer clear of websites, flea markets or party supply stores that may carry unregulated contacts made with dangerous tinting agents. To determine whether the store has a license to sell contacts find out the state license number and follow up with the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) of the home state.
If your disguise just won't be complete without special effect lenses, call your local optical store before making any purchase. Halloween shouldn't be a "scary" night for your eyes. Be knowledgable about how to dress up your eyes safely.