With the fall comes Halloween and with that, dressing up. It's important to know of some dangers to your eyes and vision that sometimes put a damper on the holiday spirit.
A popular costume prop in recent years has been special effect contact lenses and the trend is causing serious concern amongst eye doctors. Contact lenses are a governmentally regulated medical device. It is illegal for unlicensed distributors to sell contact lenses which is the case with most outlets where costumes and party goods are sold, however the regulations are often ignored. Lens manufacturers operating without a license may use inferior materials or even toxic coloring elements to dye the contacts. Additionally, wearing contacts without proper instruction and treatment, can result in significant eye damage such as infection, abrasion or even blindness.
If you do decide to use cosmetic lenses, it is necessary to make an exam appointment with your eye doctor 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 vital instructions on how to properly insert, remove and care for contact lenses.
Failure to take proper measures in handling contact lenses can cause infections, inflammation, or more serious corneal abrasions or sores. Your eyes are something you should treat carefully and no item should be applied in them without proper guidance from an eye care professional.
Only buy contacts from an authorized distributor that you can guarantee comply with all FDA regulations. Even non-corrective lenses must adhere to health standards and require a proper prescription. Beware of e-commerce sites, open markets or party supply stores that may sell homemade products colored with unapproved tinting agents. To find out whether the store has a license to sell contacts ask for their state license number and follow up with the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) of the home state.
If your costume just won't be complete without decorative lenses, call your local optometrist before making any purchase. Don't let Halloween be a "Hallowed" night for your eyes. Be aware of the hazards uneducated contact use can be to your eyes.