With cooler temperatures comes the holiday both kids and adults look forward to all year long. Whether a vampire, monster, witch or princess, the best Halloween costumes usually involve creative make-up and sometimes cool colorful contact lenses. Before buying your costume this year learn how to keep your family’s eyes healthy.
Most people don’t know that it is illegal to sell colored contact lenses, even contacts that are plano which means with no power to correct vision, without a prescription. This is because contact lenses are not one size fits all and poorly fitting contact can cause painful corneal abrasions, corneal ulcers and sometimes permanent vision loss. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, all contact lenses are medical devices that must be prescribed and dispensed by medical professionals.
It’s not just contact lenses that can irritate the eyes. In our practice we also see people who have had reactions to eye make-up and the use of false eyelashes. Eye infections, allergic reactions and painful red lumps near the edge of the eyelid called Styes, can be caused by bacteria trapped in eyelash extensions and the adhesive used for application. Make-up and cleansers used too close to the eye can also cause bacterial and allergic conjunctivitis.
Wear contact lenses safely this Halloween and follow these guidelines provided by the American Association of Ophthalmology.
- Get an eye exam from a licensed eye care professional such as an ophthalmologist — an eye medical doctor — who will measure each eye and talk to you about proper contact lens care.
- Obtain a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements and expiration date.
- Purchase the colored contact lenses from a retailer who asks for a prescription.
- Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses.
- Never share contact lenses with another person.
- Get follow-up exams as directed with your eye care provider.
Finally, if your eyes become painful, irritated or if there is any discharge or change in vision after wearing contact lenses remove them immediately and seek immediate medical attention.