Children dressed in Halloween costumes

In October, the American Academy of Ophthalmology observes Halloween Safety Month. You may be asking yourself what Halloween has to do with your eye health.

There’s actually a very large concern for eye care professionals at Halloween. What is it? Cosmetic or costume contact lenses.

Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of these contacts and other ways to stay safe this month!

Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Cosmetic contact lenses are an increasingly popular part of many Halloween costumes. There are a lot of online retailers that sell colored contact lenses of all kinds.

You can find them in every color you can think of. You can even get contacts that make your eyes look like a cat or lizard.

Contacts like this can seem like an easy way to make a costume stand out. But cosmetic contact lenses can also wreak havoc on your eyes.

Cosmetic Contact Risks

Online retailers often advertise their contacts as “one size fits all”. They may even say you don’t need a prescription since the contacts aren’t for correcting your vision.

But your eyes actually have a unique shape even if you don’t have any problems seeing. Putting in a contact lens that doesn’t fit right can irritate your eyes and cause infection.

Not only can infections be painful and annoying, but they can cause you to go blind. A common eye infection you could get from cosmetic contact lenses is keratitis.

Over half of all cases of keratitis result in irreversible vision loss. Having a cool costume can be fun for a night, but it isn’t worth going blind for!

Can You Wear Cosmetic Contacts Safely?

Here’s the good news: if you get cosmetic contacts from your eye doctor, they are safe to wear. They tend to be more expensive but getting them from your eye doctor is much safer.

They need to have a prescription for all contacts. They are also only allowed to use FDA approved lenses.

The online retailers who sell the “one size fit all” contact lenses are NOT FDA approved. They’re actually illegal, as it hasn’t been legal to sell non-FDA approved contacts since 2005. Yet another reason to avoid these harmful contact lenses!

While it’s much safer to wear FDA approved costume contacts, you should be aware that there are still risks. Wearing contacts when you don’t need them isn’t the best idea for your eyes.

It may cause infections or dry eyes. This is why it’s important to get an eye exam for a contact lens fitting. You should do this even if you’re only getting contacts for cosmetic purposes.

Your doctor can assess you to make sure you’re a good candidate for contacts. They can also provide you with an accurate, safe prescription.

A contact lens fitting is necessary if you want to keep your eyes healthy and free of infection. Halloween is a great time to experiment with fun costumes, but make sure safety comes first!

Be willing to spend the money on proper contacts if you really want them to be a part of your costume. Cheap colored contacts just aren’t worth the risk!

Want to stand out safely this Halloween? Schedule an appointment at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, ME!