Beware the Costume Contact Lenses This HalloweenErin Whitehead
Halloween is quickly approaching, and you’re likely putting the finishing touches on your costume. If you want to go that extra mile to scare trick-or-treaters, you might even be considering colored contact lenses as that special something extra to really take your costume to the next level. But unless you’ve hit up your eye doctor recently, you may want to reconsider those color contacts.
The contacts may seem like good fun, but this news report warns of the dangers of these lenses. One of the biggest risks is getting these contacts without ensuring that you’ve got a proper fit. And improper fit isn’t just uncomfortable; poor fit can do serious damage to the eye. According to the Food and Drug Administration, scratches on the cornea, corneal infection, pink eye, decreased vision and even blindness are all the less-than-fun side effects of these types of lenses.
The fit isn’t the only problem, either. If you’re a newbie to the contact lens scene, you likely haven’t been educated on how to properly care for and insert the lenses. The failure to keep lenses clean and moist can also cause bacterial infections, which need to be treated quickly to avoid causing larger eye problems.
All of this isn’t to say that you can’t or shouldn’t buy these fashion contacts, but you should know the risks and go through the proper channels if you choose to do so. If you decide to buy contacts, be sure to get an eye exam and a valid prescription from an eye care professional. Then you’ll want to buy lenses from a retailer that requires proof of a prescription, not a novelty store, Halloween shop or street vendor, the FDA says. Follow directions for proper use and care and of course, see your doctor immediately if you start to have any problems. One case the FDA mentions on its site might scare you away from contacts for good; a woman bought $30 lenses and ended up with a $2,000 medical bill. Now that’s frightening.
I’ve been a contact lens wearer since I was a kid, and I’ve had my fair share of eye infections throughout my life. I had one so bad that I swore I was being stabbed in the eye. I had to take antibiotic drops and wear my glasses for two weeks before it was safe to use them again. Take it from me, you do not want to mess with your pretty peepers. So see your eye doctor before you go popping in any cat eyes or red-hued lenses to complete your costume. Or go the lazy route and just buy a mask!
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