Want decorative contacts for your Halloween or cosplay costume? It takes more than a quick run to the Halloween store.
Avoid the scare of serious eye injury or permanent damage to your eye from costume contacts with a trip to an optometrist or ophthalmologist before you buy. Whether you want vampire, zombie, "circle eye" or other specialty contacts, keep in mind having these festive Halloween looks requires getting a medical device – contact lenses.
Buying costume eye contacts off the shelf or online may seem convenient. But it's illegal to sell any contact lenses without a prescription in the United States. Using knock-off contact lenses could be dangerous to your eye health. The American Optometric Association explains why costume eye contacts without a prescription can be harmful for your eyes this video:
“Be aware of what you are buying and from whom,” advises Michigan City optometrist Laura Zaknoun, OD, who practices at Franciscan Physician Network Coolspring Health Center. "Allow enough time to visit your optometrist and have the fitting to get them ordered in time."
Dr. Zaknoun said costume contacts can be safe, if you are evaluated by an optometrist to ensure proper fit and comfort. Visiting an optometrist or ophthalmologist before you buy contact lenses will help because he or she will:
Decide if contacts are right for you
Give you a correct fitting
Offer instructions for wear, care and follow-up exams
Do Costume Contacts Have Other Potential Health Risks To Your Eyes?
Non-prescription costume contacts can cut, scratch and infect your eye if they don't fit exactly right. They can lead to allergic reactions, bacterial infections, corneal scrapes or ulcers, and even blindness. The paints and pigments for color lenses also make the contacts thicker and less breathable, possibly allowing less oxygen to the eye.
Can I Layer Costume Contacts Over Prescription Contacts?