With the fall comes Halloween and with that, costumes. As a consumer, you want to know of certain hazards to your eyes and vision that sometimes put a damper on the fun and games.
A popular costume accessory in recent years has been special effect contact lenses and this is alarming optometrists. Contact lenses are a medical device regulated by the FDA. It is against the law to sell contact lenses without a license which is applicable to costume and party stores, however obviously the laws are not adhered to. Unlicensed manufacturers may use subpar materials or even toxic dyes to color the contacts. Additionally, wearing contacts without adequate fitting and care, can result in significant eye damage such as infection, abrasion or even vision loss.
For those who do decide to use special-effect contacts, it is essential to make an exam appointment with your optometrist first. After a comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist will be able to recommend a lens that fits well and is safe for your eyes. The eye doctor will also give necessary guidance on how to properly insert, remove and care for contacts.
Although many people incorrectly view vanity contacts as just another cosmetic item, unhygienic use of lenses can result in serious danger to your eyes and vision. Nothing should ever be put on or near the eye without guidance from a professional.
Only buy lenses from an authorized seller that you can be sure sells products approved by the FDA. Non-corrective lenses must also be regulated and require a proper prescription. Beware of websites, flea markets or party supply stores that may sell homemade products tinted with unapproved materials. To determine if the store is licensed to sell lenses ask for their state license number and call the state Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) to check.
If your costume just won't be the same without special effect contact lenses, consult with your trusted optical store before making any purchase. Don't let Halloween be a "frightful" night for your eyes. Be aware of the dangers unregulated contact use can be to your eyes.