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Eye Safety for Halloween: Watch Out For Decorative Contacts!


With the fall comes Halloween and with that, costumes. It's important to know of certain hazards to your eyes that sometimes accompany with the fun and games.

A popular costume accessory in recent years has been special effect contact lenses and this is alarming eye care professionals. Contacts are an FDA regulated medical device. It is illegal for unlicensed distributors to sell contact lenses which is the case with costume and party stores, however it is apparent that the laws are not adhered to. Unlicensed manufacturers may use inferior plastics or even toxic coloring elements to color the contacts. Further, using lenses without proper fitting and adhering to proper hygiene, can result in significant injury to the eyes such as infection, abrasion or even vision loss.

If you do wish to wear decorative lenses, it is necessary to schedule an exam with a licensed eye care professional. After a comprehensive eye exam, the doctor will determine the correct size, curvature and if required prescription needed for the contacts. The optometrist will also provide vital instructions on how to properly insert, remove and care for contact lenses.

Failure to take proper precautions in handling contact lenses can result in infections, inflammation, or more severe corneal scratches or ulcers. The eyes are very sensitive and nothing should be applied in them without careful instruction from a professional eye care expert.

Never purchase lenses from any place other than a licensed distributor that you can be sure comply with all FDA regulations. Non-corrective lenses must also be regulated and need a prescription. Beware of e-commerce sites, open markets or party supply stores that may sell homemade products made with dangerous tinting agents. To find out if the store is licensed to sell contacts find out their state license number and call the state Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) to check.

If your Halloween costume just won't be complete without special effect lenses, contact your local optical store before making any purchase. Don't let Halloween be a "Hallowed" night for your eyes. Be knowledgable about the hazards unsupervised contact use can be to your eyes.