This Halloween, are you planning to buy novelty contact lenses to give your Catwoman, zombie or vampire costume that extra oomph? Be aware that the lenses can pose frightening risks to your eye health. Here's why:
“There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to contact lenses,” warns Aaron Weingeist, MD, of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). “We all have eyes of different shapes and sizes.” Wearing contact lenses that aren’t properly fitted can result in:
- Scratches on the cornea
- Bacterial infections (keratitis)
- Corneal ulcers
- Permanent vision loss
The AAO also warns that many of the contact lenses sold in Halloween stores and online may not be manufactured to meet federal health and safety standards.
If colored contacts are an absolute must for your Halloween costume, the AAO recommends that you get an eye exam from a licensed eye doctor first, even if you have perfect vision. Your doctor will determine the right size and fit of the contacts and then write you a prescription. Only purchase FDAapproved colored contact lenses from a seller who requires a prescription. In fact, it’s illegal for any contact lens to be sold without one. Steer clear of “anime” (think Lady Gaga from the "Bad Romance" music video) or circle lenses, none of which are FDA-approved. And don’t forget to follow the instructions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing your contact lenses. If you develop signs of a possible eye infection, see your doctor immediately.
Don’t let contact lenses turn your Halloween into a horror story. Take the time to see your eye doctor first.