Around the Halloween season, people are on the look out for scary contact lenses to create a dramatic look for their fancy dress outfits.
Especially if it’s just for a one-time event, we know that people are looking for quick, easy and cheap halloween contact lenses.
Decorative lenses are medical devices, not costume jewelry. They must be prescribed and fitted by an eye eye care professional, just like regular contact lenses. That’s why Golden Eye Optometry and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are urging people to buy decorative contact lenses only from retailers who require a prescription and sell FDA-approved products.
Although it is illegal to sell non-prescription contact lenses, they are available at costume shops, gas stations, and online. Research shows that people who purchase contacts without a prescription face a 16-fold increased risk of developing an infection.
5 FRIGHTENING RISKS OF WEARING COSTUME CONTACT LENSES
Scratches to the eye
If contacts are not professionally fitted to your eye, they can scratch the clear front window of the eye. This is called a corneal abrasion, which is not only painful, but can cause permanent damage. Just ask Laura Butler, who was in severe pain due to corneal abrasions 10 hours after putting in non-prescription lenses, which “stuck to my eye like suction cups.” Treatment often involves medication and patching. Sometimes, damage cannot be reversed. Butler now has a corneal scar, vision damage and a drooping eyelid.
Research shows wearing non-prescription contacts increases the risk of an infection called keratitis by 16 times.[i] Early treatment with antibiotic or steroid drops may preserve vision, but sometimes surgery, such as corneal transplantation, is necessary. Robyn Rouse had to have that surgery after she got an infection after wearing non-prescription lenses she bought at a local store.
Never share contacts because doing so can spread germs, causing conditions such as pink eye. Highly contagious, pink eye treatment depends on the cause, but typically includes some home remedies and antibiotic eye drops.
Whether from a corneal scratch or infection, wearing non-prescription contacts can lead to decreased vision.
It’s no scare tactic: wearing non-prescription contacts can lead to permanent vision loss. Learn how to take proper care of your contact lenses to avoid dangerous eye infections.
Do you need a prescription?
Yes — even novelty contact lenses are considered medical devices and can’t be purchased legally in the United States without a prescription. Come see us for a contact lens exam to have them properly fitted and prescribed, even if you don't need vision correction. All contact lenses, even cosmetic ones, must be fitted to the person wearing them. A poor lens fit can lead to infection, corneal ulcer, decreased vision, and even blindness.
Novelty contact can also lead to scary eye problems. Testing of confiscated illegal lenses revealed many had high levels of bacteria that could cause significant eye infections. Also, the coloring of some decorative contact lenses were made of lead-based materials that could leach directly into the eye.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
At Golden Eye Optometry, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision.
Call us today: (760)-948-3345 or book an appointment online to see our eye doctors.