Zombie lenses, bloodshot lenses, purple or aqua lenses – you can pretty much get any color or design lens you want online these days.
But wearing the perfect complement to your Halloween costume or Fall wardrobe might be doing permanent damage to your eyes.
Before buying decorative lenses online or over the counter (OTC), here’s what the FDA wants you to know:
They are not cosmetics or over-the-counter merchandise. They are medical devices regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Places that advertise them as cosmetics or sell them over-the-counter, without a prescription, are breaking the law.
They are not “one-size-fits-all.” An eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) must measure each eye to properly fit the lenses and evaluate how your eye responds to contact lens wear. A poor fit can cause serious eye damage, including:
- scratches on the cornea (the clear dome of tissue over the iris—the part of the eye that gives the eye its color)
- corneal infection (an ulcer or sore on the cornea)
- conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- decreased vision
People who have never worn contact lenses often don’t understand these risks. Even those experienced with contact lenses can do damage with lenses that are not measured and custom fit by an eye doctor.
To safely wear costume contact lenses for Halloween or any time of year, follow these guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology:
- Get an eye exam from a licensed eye care professional such as an ophthalmologist — an eye medical doctor — who will measure each eye and talk to you about proper contact lens care.
- Obtain a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements and expiration date.
- Purchase the colored contact lenses from a retailer who asks for a prescription.
- Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses.
- Never share contact lenses with another person.
- Get follow-up exams, as directed, with your eye care provider.
See your eye doctor right away if you have signs of possible eye infection:
- eye pain
- decrease in vision
Don’t take unnecessary risks. Take the right steps to protect your vision. Contact Zieker Eye today to learn more or schedule an appointment.