October is our favorite time of year – we get to enjoy the colorful foliage, football, comfort food, and our annual pumpkin decorating contest. It also presents us with the perfect opportunity to educate our patients and the public on the dangers that exist when purchasing decorative contact lenses. At Halloween time, specifically, people tend to make one big mistake when purchasing the finishing touches to their costume. To save yourself pain, discomfort, and possibly an irreversible issue with your vision, NEVER purchase non-prescription lenses or lenses not regulated by the FDA. In fact, it is illegal to purchase any contacts without a valid prescription.
A recent AAO.org post educates to this point by publishing guidelines that should be followed to safely wear costume contact lenses for Halloween or any time of year:
Get an eye exam from a licensed eye care professional, such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist — an eye medical doctor — who will measure each eye and talk to you about proper contact lens care.
Obtain a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements and expiration date.
Purchase the colored contact lenses from a retailer who asks for a prescription.
Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses.
Never share contact lenses with another person.
Get follow-up exams as directed with your eye care provider.
If you notice redness, swelling, excessive discharge, pain or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses and seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Eye infections can become serious very quickly and sometimes the damage is not reversible.