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Costume Contact Lenses and Safety

Costume Contact Lenses and Safety


Cosmetic or decorative contact lenses are contact lenses that change the way your eyes look, whether or not they provide any corrective benefit. These contact lenses can make your eyes look different in many ways, from changing pupil shape or eye color, to giving cartoon character or animal eye effects.

These contact lenses are also often available online, quickly and easily shipped without a prescription. While these lenses may seem like a fun idea for Halloween parties or other occasions, there can be some serious risks to wearing contact lenses that aren’t prescribed and fitted for each individual. Painful cuts and scrapes, ulcers, as well as potentially sight-threatening eye infections can occur by wearing any contact lenses that are incorrectly sized or poorly made. 

Any advertising or packaging that offers a one-size-fits-all product without a prescription is wrong. It’s also illegal. Since 2005, Federal law has required all contact lens dealers to verify a doctor’s prescription before shipping their products.

Costume contacts can be worn safely if you see a doctor first and follow his or her medical counseling. It’s important to remember that contact lenses are medical devices that require proper fitting, as well as proper wearing and care habits by the owner. If not used correctly, all contact lenses can increase your chance of developing a painful cut or scrape on the cornea (corneal abrasion), as well as serious bacterial infections and inflammation (keratitis).  

The best way to ensure safety when using contact lenses is to see an eye care professional. An ophthalmologist can assess whether or not you are a good candidate for contacts, take measurements to ensure a proper fit, and offer tips on care & safety.

After you have been to an ophthalmologist and received a prescription, be sure to only purchase cosmetic or other contacts from retailers who require a prescription. It’s not just good hygiene, it’s also the law!

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