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This Halloween Watch Out for Special Effect Lenses


Halloween is a night for fun, parties and getting dressed up but you don't want the fun to end in some scary damage to your eyes.

A popular costume accessory as of late has been special effect contact lenses and the trend is causing serious concern amongst optometrists. Contact lenses are a medical device regulated by the government. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without a license which applies to costume and party stores, however it is apparent that the laws are often ignored. Unlicensed manufacturers may use inferior plastics or even toxic coloring elements to color the contacts. Additionally, using contacts without proper instruction and handling, can cause serious injury to the eyes such as infection, abrasion or even vision loss.

If you do decide to wear cosmetic lenses, it is essential to schedule an exam with your eye care practitioner first. After a comprehensive eye exam, the doctor will be able to recommend a lens that fits well and is safe for your eyes. The practitioner will also give necessary instructions on how to properly insert, remove and care for the lenses.

While many individuals incorrectly consider decorative contact lenses as just another costume accessory, uneducated use of lenses can result in serious damage to your eyes and vision. No item should ever be placed on or near the eye without consultation with a professional.

Never purchase lenses from anyone other than an authorized distributor that you can guarantee comply with all FDA regulations. Even when purchasing lenses without corrective power, they must conform to health standards and need a prescription. Beware of websites, flea markets or beauty supply stores that may sell homemade products made with dangerous tinting agents. To find out whether the store has a license to sell lenses find out the state license number and call the state Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) to check.

If your costume just won't be complete without decorative contacts, consult with your local eye care professional to discuss your options. Don't let Halloween be a "scary" night for your eyes. Be aware of the dangers unsupervised use of contacts can be to your eyes.