Potential Halloween Costume Danger: Decorative Contact Lenses

In recent years, Halloween costumes have become much more detailed than in the past. For instance, many people choose to wear colored or fashion contact lenses to go along with their costume's clothing. Whether you want to simply change the color of your eyes, make them look like an animal's, or something more uncommon, decorative contact lenses allow it.

Unfortunately, these decorative contact lenses have been known to cause injuries when not purchased through the correct channels. Recently, a woman from West Virginia was left with vision damage, a corneal scar and a drooping eyelid after wearing colored contact lenses. She purchased the colored lenses from a souvenir store that was unqualified to sell contact lenses. The risks associated with decorative lenses purchased from unauthorized retailers include infection and blindness.

The fashion lenses that are safe to wear must be prescribed by a licensed practitioner. So, if a retainer does not ask for a prescription when you attempt to purchase contact lenses of any type, you should not buy them. It is against the law for those retailers to sell contact lenses because they aren't FDA approved. Contact lenses have to be fitted to each person's eyes and it is impossible to find "one size fits all" lenses.

Once you've completed an eye exam from a licensed practitioner, obtained a prescription from them, and purchased the decorative Halloween lenses from a legit retailer that asked to see a prescription, you should follow the appropriate safety precautions associated with contact lenses. Instructions for cleaning, disinfection, and wearing the contact lenses can be found on the lens box. Do not share contact lenses with anyone else. After wearing the lenses, follow up with your eye care doctor with an exam to make sure the lenses did not cause any damage. If you experience any unusual symptoms such as redness or pain in your eyes, immediately remove the lenses and see your doctor.

If you or someone you know has been injured due to decorative contact lenses, you should contact CDPH at 1-800-495-3232. At the Jones & Swanson, we want Halloween to be a safe and fun time for everyone.