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Home » What's New » Keep Your Eyes Halloween Safe: Decorative Contact Lenses Can Harm Your Eyes

Keep Your Eyes Halloween Safe: Decorative Contact Lenses Can Harm Your Eyes


We all know why we need to wear sunglasses and sunscreen in the summer. Winter, however, can be deceiving. It's an illusion to assume that we are safe from sunburns during the colder season.

Snow acts as a powerful mirror for sunlight and magnifies the effects of UV rays which would otherwise be absorbed by the ground. As a result, the eyes are exposed to both the UV radiation bouncing back from the snowy carpet and the rays shining down directly from the sun.

If your family is skiing or snowboarding up in the mountains, you need to be even more careful! UV rays are more powerful at higher altitudes. Another important factor to remember is that ultraviolet radiation penetrates through clouds, so even if the sun is hidden behind them, it can still damage your eyes.

Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses that absorb at least 95% of ultraviolet radiation when you go outside, no matter what time of year it is. Even though you want to look great in your shades, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is you don't necessarily have to pay more for full coverage for your eyes. Dozens of reasonably priced options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also prevent UV waves from entering from the sides.

If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, you should be aware that the sun's rays are stronger at higher elevations, so you need to be especially careful to keep your eyes shaded on the slopes. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.

Make a point to be knowledgeable about proper eye protection throughout the year. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.


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.