Halloween is a time to shroud yourself in mystery. It is a time when you are allowed, even encouraged, to be something that you are not. You can pick anything in the world to be for just one night (or maybe a bit more than that – Halloweekend is a practice that is alive and well after all).
Colored contacts are a very popular way to make this Halloween transformation. A costume, wig, and make up can only go so far in creating your look. Sometimes, Halloween contact lenses can make the entire costume come together and complete the transformation.
A major point of concern for many is whether or not Halloween contact lenses are safe for the eyes. Colored contacts can often be bought cheaply over the counter from costume stores or on the Internet. But just because something is easy to access, does not mean that it is safe.
Purchasing Colored Contact Lenses
The FDA has some helpful guidelines about purchasing and wearing colored contacts. They recommend never buying colored contacts from Halloween stores, convenience stores, boutiques, or anywhere that does not require you to have a valid prescription from an eye doctor. Contacts from these stores are sold cheaply, which may seem appealing, especially if you are only planning to wear them once with your Halloween costume. It is important to remember, however, that these are not simply fashion accessories. Cheap contact lenses are unsafe if they are not prescribed to you. The FDA defines colored and decorative lenses as “prescription devices by federal law”.
Any store selling colored contact lenses without requiring a valid prescription are breaking the law in the United States. It is not safe to wear contacts, colored or otherwise, without having them fitted for comfort and safety. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you “never buy colored contact lenses from a retailer that does not ask for a prescription. There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ contact lens. Lenses that are not properly fitted may scratch the eye or cause blood vessels to grow into the cornea”.
Even those with perfect vision who do not regularly see an eye doctor need to be properly fitted for Halloween lenses in order to prevent damage to the eyes.
How to Care for Color Contact Lenses
Just as colored contacts and regular contacts both require a prescription, they both follow the same general rules of care as well. When wearing Halloween contacts, be mindful of redness, irritation, or pain. These could be symptoms of infection. If you experience these symptoms remove the lenses and see your eye care professional. Always follow proper cleaning and care instructions and never share contact lenses with anyone else.
Safety of Halloween Contact Lenses
All in all, it is not their color that makes these contacts unsafe. When used correctly, they are perfectly safe. These contacts are only dangerous for the eyes when they are worn without a proper prescription and fitting. If you are looking forward to wearing colored contacts to complete your Halloween look, reach out to your eye care professional to obtain a prescription and schedule a fitting. Happy haunting!