Risks of Decorative Contact Lenses

Whether you’re looking for the blood-red eyes of a vampire, or the striking eyes of a cat with vertical irises, decorative contact can be a dramatic way to enhance a Halloween costume. BUT…(you knew there had to be a “but”) there are some serious risks to be considered before getting dressed for trick-or-treat.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), decorative contact lenses are considered medical devices, and they should only be purchased from an eye doctor–an optometrist or ophthalmologist. That’s because contacts are not “one size fits all.” Without proper fit, your eyes can be damaged, sometimes seriously.

Poorly fitting contacts could potentially lead to scratches on the cornea, corneal infection, conjunctivitis, decreased vision, or even blindness. According to Bernard Lepri, O.D., M.S., M.Ed., an optometrist at FDA:  “Bacterial infections can be extremely rapid, result in corneal ulcers, and cause blindness—sometimes within as little as 24 hours if not diagnosed and treated promptly.”

Many people assume that contact lenses are harmless bits of plastic. Unfortunately, that’s not true, and problems can occur if the contacts are made improperly, fit incorrectly, or have been exposed to contaminates. The FDA recommends that you NEVER, EVER buy contact lenses from street vendors, salons or beauty supply stores, boutiques, flea markets, Halloween or novelty stores, other non-optometry shops, or from the Internet.

Again, the only valid place to purchase decorative or fashion lenses is from an eye doctor–even if you have perfect vision. To learn more about the FDA’s recommendations regarding decorative contact lenses, click here:  Is Your Vision Worth It?

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