Halloween is our favorite spooky time of year, but we need to talk about the potential dangers of costume contact lenses.
The right pair of colored lenses will make a great final touch to an amazing Halloween costume, but not all contact lenses are created equal, and we want to make sure our patients know what to look for and how to safely use their contacts.
Don’t Forget: All Contact Lenses Are Medical Devices
All contact lenses, whether they help you see clearly or just help you look like a zombie or a vampire, are classified as medical devices. This is why you need to get a prescription from the optometrist before you purchase any.
Prescriptions are actually a good litmus test to find out whether a contact lens vendor is trustworthy. It is illegal to sell contacts in the US without requiring a prescription, and if a vendor is willing to break one law with their contact lenses, they might be cutting corners in other areas too, such as storing the lenses in sterile, sanitary conditions. It’s worth paying a little more to be sure that your lenses are safe to wear.
Contacts Are Not One Size Fits All
If you’ve never needed corrective lenses, the idea of needing a prescription for purely cosmetic lenses might seem strange to you, but it makes perfect sense. Everyone’s eyes are different, not only in color and visual acuity, but also in shape. A contact lens prescription includes measurements of your cornea’s size and shape so that your lenses will fit properly. A lens that is too flat or too curved could either fall out or cause an eye injury.
Good Contact Lens Care Prevents Eye Infections
Once you’ve purchased your lenses from a reliable vendor, it’s up to you to take good care of them and keep your risk of eye infections and other complications to a minimum. Here are a few important rules to follow for contact lens care and safety:
- Always wash your hands before inserting or removing contact lenses.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes while wearing contacts.
- Only use contact lens solution to clean and store your contacts. (Never water, and definitely never saliva.)
- Never reuse old solution to clean or store your contacts.
- Only wear your contacts for the length of time recommended on the packaging or by the optometrist. Never longer. Don’t fall asleep before taking them out for the night!
- Follow the instructions on how often to replace your contacts.
If your costume lenses are sclera lenses (meaning they cover the entire surface of the eye, not just the iris), keeping them moisturized is particularly important. Stay hydrated while in costume and use contact-friendly eyedrops. Definitely don’t fall asleep wearing sclera lenses!
Come Get Your Contact Lens Prescription!
If you have any questions about good costume contact lens care and safety or would like our recommendations for trustworthy vendors, just give us a call! We might even have the perfect lenses for your costume available at our practice. We’d also love to see how your costume turns out when it’s done!
We wish all our patients a safe and spooky Halloween!
Top image by Flickr user Dasha Ocean used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.