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Costume Contact Lens Dos And Don’ts

A pair of colored contact lenses can be the perfect final touch to a great Halloween costume.

Our eyes are often the first things people notice about us, so they can play a huge role when we dress up as someone (or something) else. Costume contact lenses could make you a much more convincing zombie or vampire, or they could help you match your eye color to a specific character you’re impersonating. But before you go looking for the right pair of lenses, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Costume Contacts Are Medical Devices

You might think of your cool Halloween contact lenses as just another part of your costume, but any type of contact lens is a medical device, even if you aren’t using it to correct your vision. Anyone purchasing contact lenses for any reason needs to get a prescription from their optometrist first.

Selling contacts in the US without requiring a prescription is illegal, so if an online vendor is willing to sell contact lenses without asking for prescriptions, that should strike you as a major red flag. Resist the impulse to find the cheapest pair of lenses that look the right way. A suspiciously low price tag is likely only possible because the vendor has cut some important corners in accounting for eye safety.

Why Is A Prescription So Important?

Only buying from vendors who require a prescription isn’t just about following the law, it’s about the health and safety of your eyes. A contact lens prescription tells vendors more than just the amount of correction your eyesight needs; it also includes the unique measurements of your eyes so that the contacts can be made to fit, because our eyes are not all the same size.

Without a prescription, you are likely to receive contacts with a poor fit, which can cause serious complications, such as inflammation, infection, trauma, and other damage to the cornea and eyelids. And that’s just if the fit is the only problem; the vendor also needs to keep the contacts sterile, or the risk of corneal ulcers and infections like pink-eye becomes much greater.

Follow The Rules Of Contact Lens Care

Even if the vendors obey the law and sell you custom-fitted lenses that are completely sterile, you could still experience complications if you neglect the rules of contact lens hygiene. Always wash your hands before inserting or removing your costume lenses. Always store them in fresh contact lens solution. Never reuse old solution or use water to clean or store them. Replace your costume lenses as often as the instructions require.

To keep your eyes healthy and moisturized while the lenses are in, particularly if they are scleral lenses (lenses that cover the entire surface of the eye, not just the iris), you’ll want to stay hydrated and use contact-friendly eyedrops. Avoid rubbing your eyes, and follow the instructions on how long to keep the lenses in. Definitely don’t wear them overnight.

Come To Vision Source® For Your Prescription

If you don’t have a contact lens prescription yet, schedule an appointment with your local Vision Source® member optometrist! They might even have the colored lenses you’re looking for already. If not, they can certainly recommend trustworthy vendors for you. And make sure to send them photos of your costume! They’re excited to see how it turns out!

Thank you for keeping your eyes safe!

Find a Vision Source® practice near you using our search tool.

Top image by Flickr user Terry Robinson used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Author Vision Source — Published October 15, 2018

Posted In Eye Health Awareness