With the autumn comes Halloween and with that, dressing up. It's important to know of certain dangers to your eyes and vision that sometimes put a damper on the Halloween spirit.
A popular costume accessory as of late has been special effect contact lenses and this is alarming eye doctors. Contacts are a governmentally regulated medical device. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without a license which applies to costume and party supply stores, however clearly the regulations are not adhered to. Unlicensed production may use subpar materials or even dangerous coloring elements to color the lenses. Further, using lenses without adequate instruction and adhering to proper hygiene, can cause significant harm to the eyes such as infection, abrasion or even blindness.
For those who do wish to wear special-effect contacts, it is necessary to schedule an exam with your eye doctor first. After a comprehensive eye exam, the practitioner will determine the correct size, curvature and if required prescription required for the lens. The eye doctor will also provide necessary instructions on how to properly insert, remove and care for contact lenses.
Failure to take adequate precautions in wearing and storing contacts can lead to painful infections, irritation, or more dangerous corneal scratches or ulcers. Your eyes are something you should treat carefully and nothing should be applied in them without careful guidance from a professional eye care expert.
Never buy contacts from any place that is not a licensed seller that you can guarantee sells products approved by the FDA. Even when purchasing lenses without corrective power, they must be regulated and require a prescription. Steer clear of e-commerce sites, flea markets or party supply stores that may carry homemade contacts made with dangerous dyes. To determine if the retailer is licensed to sell contact lenses ask for the state license number and follow up with the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) of the home state.
If your costume just won't be the same without special effect contact lenses, call your local optical store before making any purchase. Halloween shouldn't be a "scary" night for your eyes. Be knowledgable about how to dress up your eyes safely.