Halloween and costume parties are right around the corner, and we get it—you want your costume to impress. That means even the smallest of details matter. Imagine if your cat costume was topped off by having cat eyes? Or if your super scary zombie costume had glazed-over zombie eyes?
Hold it right there.
Before you run out to the nearest costume shop or place an order online for decorative contact lenses, know the risk.
The Difference Between Contact Lenses and Costume Contact Lenses
Real contact lenses are medical devices that need FDA approval. They are corrective soft lenses that must be properly fitted by your eye doctor during an evaluation or exam. This ensures that the lens is the proper shape, size and material for your unique eye shape. You can only purchase corrective contact lenses with a valid prescription and from a certified retailer (online or by mail order) or your optometrist office. If you’re looking to spice up your eye color, go through one of these channels where safety measures and assurances are in place.
Costume contact lenses are not FDA approved (meaning they are not deemed safe by the FDA). Costume lenses do not correct vision with any sort of prescription and are one-size-fits-all lenses—regardless of the unique size and shape of your eye. online retailers, costume and beauty shops, or local discount stores who are selling the lenses without requiring a prescription are selling the lenses illegally because of the risk to sight and eye health.
Contact Lenses—Regular or Decorative—Are Not 100% Risk-free
No type of contact lens is totally risk-free. That’s why it’s imperative to have a proper fitting by a skilled optometrist. During your evaluation, you will be taught how to properly care for and clean your lenses. Improper care can lead to infection, eye damage and even blindness.
Did you know? In a 2010 study, 13,500 teens and kids went to the ER from costume lens injury.
The Risk of Wearing Costume Lenses
- Since costume lenses are not properly fitted to your specific eye shape and size, they can cut, scratch, and/or infect your eyes.
- The various shapes can make the lenses uneven in texture resulting in eye injury.
- Abrasions, ulcers, keratitis and blindness can occur.
- Additionally, since they are not FDA approved, they can be opened and repackaged by any retailer, resulting in potential exposure to germs and chemicals.
What if I Still Want to Wear Costume Contact Lenses?
You can be properly fitted for costume contact lenses in your optometrist’s office. This is the safest way to obtain clean, FDA approved contact lenses to complete your costume.
Make an appointment for a contact lens fitting and let your eye doctor know that you’re looking for purple eyes… or cat eyes… or zombie eyes. Don’t worry about being judged—they’ll just be glad that you’re looking after your eye health.