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This Halloween Watch Out for Decorative Lenses


Halloween is a time for getting out and dressing up but you should take some precautions so it doesn't end in some scary eye damage.

Over the past few years, special effect contact lenses have been increasingly becoming popular particularly with teenagers and young adults and the trend is alarming eye care professionals. Contacts are a medical device regulated by the government. It is against the law for unlicensed distributors to sell contact lenses which applies to costume and party stores, however clearly the regulations are not adhered to. Unlicensed production may use inferior materials or even toxic coloring elements to dye the lenses. Further, wearing contacts without adequate instruction and care, can result in serious harm to the eyes such as infection, abrasion or even blindness.

If you do wish to wear cosmetic lenses, it is important to make an exam appointment with your optometrist first. After a comprehensive eye exam, the practitioner will be able to recommend a lens that fits well and is safe for your eyes. The eye doctor will also provide necessary instructions on proper handling and cleaning of the lenses.

While many individuals erroneously perceive vanity lenses as just another costume item, improper use of lenses can result in significant harm to your eyes and eye sight. No item should ever be applied on or near the eye without guidance from a professional.

Never buy lenses from any place other than a licensed distributor that you can be sure sells products approved by the FDA. Even when purchasing lenses without corrective power, they must be regulated and need a proper prescription. Steer clear of websites, open markets or party supply stores that may sell homemade contacts made with unapproved dyes. To find out if the retailer has a license to sell contacts request their state license number and call the state Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) to check.

If your costume just won't be the same without special effect contacts, consult with your local optical store before making any purchase. Halloween shouldn't be a "scary" night for your eyes. Be aware of how to dress up your eyes safely.