The Scary Truth About Halloween Contact Lenses
Decorative contact lenses can be a part of your Halloween costume, and young people love the idea of using them. Some people may also want to change eye color without one of those popular Instagram filters.
At EMC, we are all up for having a fun time, especially at Halloween! We enjoy letting our hair down and unleashing our childish sides, but we want to offer expert advice and provide some buying tips this Halloween to help protect your eyes.
It is illegal to sell non-prescription decorative lenses
You would agree that buying prescription drugs illegally can be dangerous. Well, decorative lenses are no different. In the United States, selling them is illegal if you don’t have a medical prescription. Even cosmetic contact lenses are considered class II or class III medical devices and require fitting and care from an ophthalmologist.
In this regard, Dr. Thinda adds that the FDA does not approve most lenses found in Halloween stores. They are being sold illegally because they should ask for a prescription before, which rarely happens.
Why is it so important to get a prescription for decorative contacts?
A drug prescription is made for a specific condition and individualized for one patient. Something similar happens with decorative contacts.
All types of contact lenses require a prescription to make sure they fit your eyes and won’t harm any eye structure. They are designed according to the dimensions of your eyes. But then you bought decorative contacts, and everything seemed perfect for a few hours. But you start feeling eye pain, get a corneal abrasion because those cosmetic lenses were not meant for you, and get permanent visual damage that requires expensive treatment and follow-up care with an ophthalmologist for life.
Decorative contacts are a source of infection and might lead to permanent eye damage
According to studies by the Forensic Chemistry Center of the US FDA, over 300 contact lenses were obtained without a prescription, and up to 60% of them contained microbes. After analyzing different brands, 48% of them turn out positive for microbial contamination.
The risk of infection and severe harm such as corneal abrasion increases. Some microbes in these illegal lenses could break down your eye structures. Eye surgery is usually the only way to address the problem, which generally leaves sequelae.
Thus, the recommendation of visiting an eye care professional and getting a prescription is not to be taken lightly.
In a nutshell, this is what you’re exposed to by using decorative contact lenses without a prescription:
- You’re buying illegal and probably not regulated contact lenses and putting them on one of the most delicate and exposed organs of your body.
- As illegal medical devices, most decorative contact lenses carry microbes. You could encounter a type of microorganism that leaves permanent damage to your eyes.
- Nobody measured your eyes to prescribe a pair of contact lenses. If they don’t fit, you could experience corneal abrasion, scars, and severe eye trauma.
Get the right kind of Halloween contact lenses
There’s a correct and secure way to use decorative contacts. It is by getting a prescription and only buying in a fully legal establishment. How do you know it’s legal? Because they will ask for a prescription and will not sell the product if you don’t have one.
- Get a proper eye exam from an ophthalmologist or another eye care professional.
- Get a prescription for contact lenses based on your eye measures. This prescription should include the lens measurements and brand name.
- Only purchase your lenses if the retailer asks for a prescription
- Upon wearing your contact lenses, follow hygiene instructions and do not share them with other people.
- Remove your contact lenses and look for medical attention if you notice pain, discomfort, swelling, redness, or excessive discharge.
Recommended Colored Contact Brands
Always prefer FDA approved colored contacts. Brands such as:
- Freshlook Color
- Air Optix
- Bella Color
These listed brands are safe to use as long as you have a prescription for them. Talk to your eye doctor to discuss brands, available colors, and styles.