Decorative lenses can be a fun way to add some flair to your Halloween costume, and it might be tempting to hit the “buy now” button or to pick them up at a pop-up Halloween store when you see them. But beware — they can cost you an infection or worse if you purchase them.
Costume contacts are considered contact lenses and according to the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are prescription medical devices, meaning you need to be fitted for them by an eye care professional to make sure they won’t damage your eyes. According to the FDAs website, here are the following ways decorative/cosplay lenses can damage your eyes:
- scratches on the cornea (the clear dome of tissue over the iris—the part of the eye that gives you your eye color)
- corneal infection (an ulcer or sore on the cornea)
- conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- decreased vision
To help raise awareness on the damage these lenses can cause during Halloween, Prevent Blindness has declared October to be Contact Lens Safety Month. They note several facts recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Serious eye infections that can lead to blindness affect up to 1 out of every 500 contact lens users per year.
- Between 40-90 percent of contact lens wearers do not properly follow the care instructions for their contact lenses.
- Approximately 99 percent of survey respondents reported at least one contact lens hygiene behavior previously associated with an increased risk of eye infection or inflammation.
- Keratitis, a painful eye infection often linked to improper contact lens use, leads to 1 million doctor and hospital visits annually, at a cost of $175 million to the U.S. healthcare system.
Contact lenses can be safe to use, but they must be used safely! And that includes getting properly fitted for them. Don’t leave it to chance. Get fitted for your fancy lenses by All About Eyes today.