Nothing tops off a Halloween costume quite like a pair of glowing eyes, cat eyes, or devil eyes, but if you’re not careful, you could end starring in your own personal horror story. Hollywood and Broadway make good use of decorative contact lenses, but you might want to think twice before wearing them and you definitely shouldn’t let your kids wear them.
Plopping the wrong contact lenses into your eyes just for the fun of it just may jeopardize your eye health in a big way. As tempting as it may be, you should NEVER buy contact lenses without a prescription and NEVER borrow them from someone else.
David Bakke of Money Crashers tells Care2 of his brief brush with Halloween eyes. “I used Halloween contact lenses once in the past but took them out after only about an hour. They caused eye pain and headaches and I later learned that the damage could have been much worse had I left them in.”
These days, Mr. Bakke knows better and offers a few words of advice from the voice of experience. “Halloween contact lenses can cause infections, abrasions on the cornea, and permanent damage to your vision. I say, don’t even think about it unless you have your eyes examined first by a qualified eye doctor and obtain a prescription as well.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that wearing contact lenses incorrectly can cause:
- a cut or scratch on the top layer of your eyeball (corneal abrasion)
- allergic reactions like itchy, watery red eyes
- decreased vision
Warning signs of eye infection include:
- unusual discharge
- pain in the eye(s) that doesn’t go away after a short period of time
- decreased vision
If you have any of these signs, see a licensed eye doctor (optometrist or ophthalmologist) immediately.
Orlando optometrist Eric Perez says, “The consequences can range from simple eye irritation to something tragic like corneal ulcers (that may lead to needing a corneal transplant). An improperly fitting contact lens will scratch the corneal epithelium making it easier for bacteria to enter the eye leading to unfortunate consequences.”
An eye infection can easily become serious, even causing blindness if not properly treated. The FDA classifies decorative contact lenses as a medical device and oversees their safety and effectiveness.
Want that special Halloween look in your eyes? Forget the novelty shops and online stores. Don’t even borrow them from your closest friend. It is most definitely not worth the risk. Visit an eye care professional who carries decorative contact lenses.