Everyone likes a good fright on Halloween; it’s why we get dressed up and watch scary movies. But no one wants to risk their health for a good scare… One frightening risk is using over-the-counter Halloween costume contact lenses. Halloween is a popular time for people to use costume contact lenses to enhance their costumes and give their look that eye-popping touch. But whether it’s bloody vampire eyes you’re going for or a glow-in-the-dark lizard look, be aware that there are some serious risks involved in buying over-the-counter costume contact lenses.
NO, DON’T DO
In an important and insightful interview, Dr. Brent Westfall from iSight Optometry addressed how wearing Halloween costume contact lenses can pose a significant risk to your eye health. Cosmetic printed contact lenses may very well be all the rage at Halloween, but there are some major risks that you need to be mindful of.
Many people trying costume contact lenses have never even worn prescription lenses before. They have no idea how to properly put in or take them out and run the risk of scratching their eye when they do so. They are also unaware of how to properly clean and maintain contact lenses. Another major problem is buying lenses that don’t fit properly. If the lens fits too tightly it can stick to the eye and when you try and take it out you can peel off part of your cornea and, subsequently, cause a corneal abrasion.
And don’t be fooled by the ‘well, it’s only for a night’ argument, because even wearing costume contact lenses just for a few hours can cause major inflammation and potential damage to your eyes. Poorly fitted contact lenses or using dirty hands to insert or remove them can lead to inflammation of the eyes. In turn, this can lead to more serious conditions like corneal ulcers to permanently reduced vision to even worst-case scenario, the perforation of the eye causing blindness. Corneal scarring and drooping eyelids are more examples of what can happen when you put something in your eye that doesn’t belong.
So instead of costume lenses, make your costume scarier, wear heavier makeup on your face- do whatever you need to, just don’t put anything in your eyes except prescribed contact lenses.
YES, PLEASE DO
Contact lenses are a medical prescription and require safe and professional fitting by an eye-care expert, either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Even if you have 20/20 vision and no eye health issues, you still need to have an eye exam and a prescription from an eye-care expert in order to wear any kind of contact lens. Your eye-care expert will advise you on which lens is best for you and will instruct you on proper lens care.
Never under any circumstances buy over-the-counter costume contact lenses. Only lenses that are approved by your eye-care expert and include a recognised brand name, lens measurements, and expiration date should ever go in your eyes. If you’re purchasing costume contact lenses from an eye product retailer, make sure they ask for your prescription first.
Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning and wearing the lenses, and never swap or share your lenses with another person. After Halloween, book a follow up exam with your eye-care expert, and if you ever notice redness, pain, or swelling from wearing the costume contact lenses remove them at once and visit your eye-care expert immediately.
This is a serious issue with some disastrous consequences for those who ignore the dangers. So don’t blind yourself to the dangers of wearing costume contact lenses. Be aware and keep your eyes healthy this Halloween.
At iSight Optometry we’re dedicated to maintaining the optimal health and vision of your eyes. To book your next appointment or to ask any vision-related questions, please contact us today.