The Scary Truth about Costume Contact Lenses

When choosing a Halloween Costume make sure the scary features are just pretend. Make-believe can quickly turn into a truly scary situation if you choose the wrong contact lenses to add to your costume.  Non-prescription enhancing contacts are increasing in availability and so are emergency visits to the ophthalmologist for problems related to them.  Possible complications of improper contact lens use are pain, redness, corneal infection and corneal ulcer.  If left untreated, the result can be permanent vision loss.

The FDA’s Consumer Update page outlines the only safe way to add decorative contact lenses to your costume. According to their advice, you should follow 4 steps important steps:

  • Get an eye exam from a licensed eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist), even if you feel your vision is perfect.
  • Get a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and an expiration date.
  • Don’t buy anime or circle lenses—and don’t expect your eye doctor to prescribe them. These bigger-than-normal lenses that give the wearer a wide-eyed, doll-like look have not been cleared by the FDA.
  • Buy the lenses from a seller that requires you to provide a prescription, whether you purchase them in person or shop online.

(from: https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm275069.htm)

Take note that the number one safety requirement for costume contact lenses is an eye exam! Only a licensed eye doctor can fit you for a safe pair of contact lenses.  The internet offers $20 contact lenses for sale without a doctor’s prescription.  That is beyond scary!  Beware of what may appear to be a big savings because the end cost may be frightening.  Emergency doctor’s visits, pain, blurred vision, prescriptions, and possibly eye surgery can take all the fun out of Halloween.   Don’t take the risk because while it may be spooky, your Halloween should always be safe!