Oct 20, 2016 1:00 AM

Author: Moran Eye Center

Halloween is a spooky time of year, and people go to great lengths to perfect their costumes. However, when it comes disguising your eyes with “fashion,” or “cosmetic” contact lenses the results can be downright scary. Contact lenses of any type are medical devices that should not be purchased without a doctor’s prescription. Without a prescription you are risking serious harm to your eyes. “The lenses need to fit correctly on your cornea (the clear part of your eye), otherwise, they can be dangerous,” says David Meyer, OD, director of Contact Lens Services at Moran Eye Center. “Dangers include corneal ulcers, scratches, inflammation, bacterial infections, and in some cases even blindness.”

It is actually illegal to buy contact lenses without a prescription (even if you don’t need any vision correction), so the vendors who are selling cosmetic lenses as a type of accessory or jewelry are, in fact, breaking the law. The Food and Drug Administration actually has a website where you can report the illegal selling of these lenses. While the sellers are the law breakers, their customers may end up paying the price with damaged eyes.

Even with a prescription, fashion contact lenses come with risks. Any time you place something in your eye you are risking infection, or injury. “As a general rule, I discourage their use all together,” says Meyer. “Even if a patient really wants them and is willing to get a proper fitting and accurate prescription I am only okay with them being worn temporarily.”

When wearing any contact lenses, be sure to follow care and cleaning instructions thoroughly. Make sure they are disinfected before placing them in your eye, and make sure you are placing them in your eye with clean hands. If the lenses come out of your eyes be sure to clean them before putting them back in. Be sure to only clean your lenses with solution designed for this purpose. Cleaning them with water – or in your mouth – could lead to big problems.

If your eyes start burning or itching while wearing your lenses, take them out immediately. See your eye doctor if you notice any pain, blurry vision, or discharge. After all, you don’t want one night in costume to turn into a lifelong horror. 

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