costume-contact-lensesCosmetic contacts can put the finishing touches on your Halloween costume. However, they can also harm your eyes. Never put contact lenses onto your eyes unless you have talked about them with your eye doctor and received a proper fitting.

All contact lenses require a prescription from a licensed eye care specialist. They are considered medical devices, and law prohibits their sale by non-licensed shops. This doesn’t always stop their sale. Every year, unregulated costume lenses make their way onto the market and cause serious harm to those who use them.

The dangers of contacts worn without professional advice can include:

  • Serious eye damage from unhealthy chemicals. Not all unregulated costume lens manufacturers use stringent quality control, and they may not do rigorous research on what materials will harm the eyes. Some over-the-counter costume contact lenses contain ingredients that are toxic to the eyes. Use of these can lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Eye scratches and sores. Because unregulated costume contact lenses are not fitted to your eyes, they can scratch the surface of your eye. These scratches, called corneal abrasions, may leave your eye red, painful, and light sensitive. Your eye may also produce discharge. It can feel as though you have something in your eye.

    These scratches can become corneal ulcers. You might notice these as a white spot on the colored part of your eye. While these can be treated by eye drops, they can scar over when they heal, permanently impairing your vision. In the worst cases, you may require surgery to mend your vision.

  • Eye infections. Corneal abrasions can also lead to eye infections. People who use costume contact lenses have shown highly increased chances of getting these infections, which are called keratitis. Other potential infections include herpes simplex, and strains of bacteria that have developed a resistance to antibiotics.

Costume contacts can be perfectly safe, as long as you have consulted your eye care professional prior to using them. Your doctor at Valley Eyecare Center can help you safely achieve your best Halloween look. Contact us online, or call us at (602) 955-2700 to set up an appointment.