With the autumn comes Halloween and with that, costumes. As a consumer, you want to know of certain threats to your eyes and vision that could come along with the Halloween spirit.
A popular costume prop as of late has been special effect contact lenses and this is alarming eye doctors. Contacts are a medical device regulated by the FDA. It is illegal for unlicensed distributors to sell contact lenses which is applicable to most outlets where costumes and party goods are sold, however obviously the laws are often ignored. Lens manufacturers operating without a license may use subpar materials or even dangerous coloring elements to dye the lenses. Further, use of lenses without proper instruction and care, can cause serious eye damage or even vision loss.
If you do wish to use special-effect contacts, it is necessary to schedule an appointment with your eye care practitioner first. After a contact lens evaluation and eye exam, the optometrist will determine the proper size, curvature and if needed prescription needed for the contacts. The optometrist will also provide necessary instructions on proper hygiene of contacts.
Wearing lenses without taking appropriate precautions in handling them can lead to painful infections, soreness, or more dangerous eye abrasions or ulcers. Your eyes are something you should take good care of and no item should be applied in them without proper instruction from an eye care professional.
Never purchase contacts from anyone other than a licensed distributor that you can guarantee comply with all FDA regulations. Even when purchasing lenses without corrective power, they must adhere to health regulations and need a prescription. Beware of websites, flea markets or party supply stores that may sell unregulated products tinted with unapproved dyes. To find out whether the store has a license to sell contacts you can request their state license number and follow up with the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) of the home state.
If your disguise just won't be complete without decorative contact lenses, consult with your local eye care professional to discuss your options. Don't let Halloween be a "Hallowed" night for your eyes. Be aware of the dangers unregulated contact use can be to your eyes.