It’s that time of year again. Time to dress up, get scared, look sexy, and just have fun. Oh yeah, and eat a lot of cheap chocolate. But don’t worry, I am not a dentist, so I am not here to tell you to avoid all of that sugar.Rather, I’m here to remind you to think twice before you or your children go looking for those Halloween contacts.
Every year around this time, I have a lot of people come into the store asking if they can just buy one pair of colored contacts for their costume. My response is usually disappointing. “Do you have a prescription for them?” Yes, contacts lenses, even non-prescription colored ones, are considered medical devices and are regulated by the FDA, and for good reason!
This is a corneal ulcer, caused by a patient wearing Halloween contacts last year. The person lost her vision in that eye.
According to the FDA
“They are not “one size fits all.” An eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) must measure each eye to properly fit the lenses and evaluate how your eye responds to contact lens wear. A poor fit can cause serious eye damage, including:
- scratches on the cornea (the clear dome of tissue over the iris—the part of the eye that gives you your eye color)
- corneal infection (an ulcer or sore on the cornea)
- conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- decreased vision
Places that sell decorative lenses without a prescription may give you few or no instructions on how to clean and care for your lenses. Failure to use the proper solution to keep contact lenses clean and moist can lead to infections, says Bernard P. Lepri, O.D., M.S., M.Ed., an FDA optometrist in the agency’s Contact Lens and Retinal Devices Branch. “Bacterial infections can be extremely rapid, result in corneal ulcers, and cause blindness—sometimes within as little as 24 hours if not diagnosed and treated promptly.”
“The problem isn’t with the decorative contacts themselves,” adds Lepri. “It’s the way people use them improperly—without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care.”
This leads us to the next question. Why can you find them at the beauty salon or convenience store? The answer is that these vendors purchase them from overseas and the product is not regulated. This is even scarier, since the lenses can come with bacteria in the lens solution and the materials are not tested for quality. If you really want to be scared this Halloween, think about eye eating amoebas! Any store selling contacts lenses without a prescription is breaking the law.
So what can you do if you want some colored contacts to enhance your costume? Speak with your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist and see if they are able to fit you in contacts. Who knows, maybe you will like them so much that you will add them to your eye care options!
If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Moncrieffe, please call See by the Sea Optical at 954-491-5818. Our Optomestrist is available every Thursday to provide comprehensive eye exams and fit you with contacts.
See by the Sea Optical also provides next day contact lens delivery service. That means you can order your contacts today, and I will deliver them to your home, office, or you can pick them up at the store! I strive to make your experience as hassle free as possible.
One more nasty picture to make you think twice before you or a loved one decides to try one of those contacts from the beauty parlor.
Have a fun Halloween!!