Is It Safe to Wear Halloween Contact Lenses?

Question: Is there a safe way to wear decorative contact lenses with my Halloween costume this year?

Dr. Clay Answers:

Colored and decorative (or special effect) contact lenses can be a really fun and effective addition to a Halloween costume. There are special effect contact lenses available in almost any imaginable color or design. As fun as they can be, however, decorative contact lenses can pose significant risks to eye health if they are not obtained from a reputable source and fit correctly.

Only With a Prescription

Even if they do not have a power to correct vision, decorative lenses can only be legally acquired with a doctor’s prescription. Many web sites, beauty supply stores, and Halloween stores may advertise that they have decorative Halloween contact lenses for sale without a prescription, but the seller can face serious fines and penalties for illegal sale of contacts. The lenses that are sold without a prescription are often not FDA approved lenses and could be made of materials that have not been adequately tested on human eyes.

Decorative lenses that are not FDA-approved and sold without a prescription could lead to complications. Once you have the prescription for your decorative lenses and you’ve bought them, be sure to follow these tips to ensure safe wearing:

Tips for Safely Wearing Halloween Lenses:

  • Replace the contacts when recommended.
  • Do not sleep in them.
  • Carefully wash your hands before handling the lenses.
  • Clean and store them with the appropriate multi-purpose contact lens solution. Never reuse the same solution to store or clean the lenses. Do not use water, saliva, saline or eye drops to clean or store the lenses.
  • Do not swim or wear contact lenses in a hot tub.

Updated Oct 24th, 2014

Clay Mattson thumbnailClay Mattson, O.D. has been practicing optometry at EyeMax in Nicholasville and Lexington, KY since 2000. Dr. Mattson also serves as a consultant, lecturer, author and advisor to the eye care industry and to other eye doctors.

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