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Eye Safety for Halloween: Watch Out For Decorative Contacts!


With the fall comes Halloween and with that, dressing up. It's important to be aware of some hazards to your eyes that could put a damper on the fun and games.

Over the past few years, special effect contacts have become a popular item for costumes particularly with teenagers and young adults and the trend is alarming eye care professionals. Contacts are a medical device regulated by the government. It is against federal law for unlicensed distributors to sell contact lenses which is the case with costume and party supply stores, however the regulations are not adhered to. Lens manufacturers operating without a license may use subpar materials or even toxic dyes to color the lenses. Additionally, wearing contacts without proper fitting and treatment, can result in critical harm to the eyes or even blindness.

For those who do decide to wear cosmetic contacts, it is necessary to make an exam appointment with your eye care practitioner beforehand. After a comprehensive eye exam, the practitioner will be able to recommend a lens that fits well and is safe for your eyes. The optometrist will also give vital guidance on how to properly insert, remove and care for contacts.

Despite the fact that many incorrectly consider vanity contacts as just another beauty item, improper use of contacts can result in significant harm to your eyes and vision. No item should ever be put into the eye without proper professional guidance.

Only purchase lenses from a licensed distributor that you can guarantee sells products approved by the FDA. Non-corrective lenses must also conform to health standards and require a proper prescription. Steer clear of websites, open markets or beauty supply stores that may carry homemade products tinted with unapproved tinting agents. To determine if the retailer has a license to sell lenses you can find out their state license number and follow up with the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) of the home state.

If your Halloween disguise just won't be the same without special effect lenses, contact your trusted eye care professional before making any purchase. Don't let Halloween be a "frightful" night for your eyes. Be knowledgable about how to dress up your eyes safely.