Costume contact lenses? They’re not worth the risk!

Costume contact lenses They're not worth the risk!There are few things that really tie together a costume like a pair of unnaturally colored contact lenses. Spooky lime green, sickly yellow, blood-curdling red—whatever the color or design, costume contact lenses are an extremely popular Halloween accessory. However, certain groups such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology are warning that these fun little props can be dangerous.

This is because the lenses themselves aren’t actually costume accessories, despite what their marketing may indicate. Rather than being a mask or piece of clothing that can easily be slipped on or off, costume contacts are designed to rest against a wearer’s cornea, which is a very delicate and sensitive organ. Thus, these contacts are actually medical devices, and as such, they should be fitted to a wearer’s unique eye shape by a trained and trusted medical professional.
This is because, unlike many other costume accessories, one size will not fit all. We tend to think of adults as all being the same size and shape in regards to their eyes, but that just isn’t the case. If there is even a millimeter difference between the curve of the contact lense and the curve of the eye, then a user could experience anything from mild discomfort to lacerations of the cornea and permanent blindness.

This is why the government took a stand against dangerous costume contacts back in 2005, making it illegal for them to be purchased without a valid prescription. However, regular incidents of injury involving costume contacts still occur with alarming frequency, especially around Halloween.

This is because despite the laws, very little is done to enforce the ban on over-the-counter costume lenses. Costume shops and halloween stores around the country regularly and unashamedly sell dangerous lenses to people without any sort of prescription. Some shops seek to limit their responsibility in the matter by having customers sign wavers upon purchase, but many others offer no indication that the lenses are anything other than perfectly safe.

The main danger from these contacts comes in their design. In order for them to be able to do anything more than simply add a tint to the wearer’s iris, they need to much thicker than the average disposable soft contact lense. This can lead to painful scratches on the surface of the eye, or even deep cuts. This possibility is made all the more likely when the contact lenses are being used by people who have little or no experience with contacts or how to insert or remove them. Likewise, unless the contacts are regularly and thoroughly cleaned, they can cause infection in the eye that could quickly lead to blindness.

If you feel as though you absolutely must change the color of your eyes for one reason or another, be sure to go about it the smart way. First, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor and see if there are possible solutions involving the less-dangerous soft-contacts that many people enjoy. If your eyes are a naturally light color, you may find that you don’t need anything as drastic as costume contacts to change your eyes into whatever shade or tint that you desire. If you need something more heavy duty, then discuss other options with your doctor, and see if they can acquire the lenses through their own channels. Having a medical professional on hand to show you how to use the lenses can be invaluable, and they’ll also be able to identify any potential problems with the lenses early on. At the very least, make sure to have the shape and size of your eye measured, your vision tested, and a prescription issued, so that if you do have to buy your lenses elsewhere, you can be sure to get ones that fit the way that they are supposed to.

Dressing up can be a blast, but even the best costume in the world isn’t worth your eyesight. Before you pop those costume contacts into your eyes, consider the risk. You’ll probably be better off just sticking with your own eye color.

Paisley Hansen
She is a freelance writer and expert in fleece fabric, and health and beauty. When she isn't writing she can usually be found reading a good book.
Paisley Hansen

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