Thinking of Wearing Specialty Contacts? Proceed with Caution.

Does your Halloween costume this year include colored contact lenses? Decorative contact lenses can be a fun way to play with your appearance, especially for Halloween. Follow these tips so that you don’t find yourself in a truly scary situation.

First of all, don’t get your contacts from a beauty supply store, Halloween store, novelty store, or any place that does not require a prescription. Contact lenses, even decorative ones, are regulated medical devices and require a prescription. Any vendor that sells them without one is breaking the law and is selling a product that could harm your eyes.

The best way to get specialty contacts is to go to a licensed eye doctor — an optometrist or opthalmologist. Even if you have perfect vision, it’s important to get your eyes checked by a professional because he or she can make sure that the lenses are fit specifically for your eyes. Contact lenses aren’t inherently dangerous, but when they fit poorly they can cause scratches on the cornea, corneal infections, pink eye, decreased vision, or even blindness. Extreme cases of eye damage from improperly fitting lenses or incorrect use could even result in loss of the eye.

Once you’ve received your prescription — which should include brand name, lens measurements, and an expiration date — obtain your lenses from a retailer that requires a prescription. This can be in-person or online.

Make sure that you follow the directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing  your new contact lenses, and continue to visit your eye doctor for follow up exams. If you notice redness in your eyes, changes in your vision, or if you have eye pain that doesn’t go away quickly accompanied by a decrease in your vision, see your doctor immediately.

Colored contacts and specialty lenses can add the perfect finishing touch to a costume, but they can also pose a hazard to your eye health. Protect your eyes by taking the proper precautions when buying and using specialty contacts.

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