Halloween is almost here! If part of your costume involves decorative contact lenses, an eye doctor visit is an absolute must.
Contact lenses are medical devices that are regulated by the US FDA. If contact lenses, even Halloween or costume contact lenses, are advertised or sold without a prescription, it is breaking the law.
Therefore, it would stand to reason that ordering costume contact lenses from an online vendor without a prescription, buying from a novelty store, or picking up at your neighbor’s rummage sale is probably not a great idea.
A number of eye issues can arise from wearing poorly fitting contact lenses, but the structure that bears the brunt of the damage is the cornea, the front “bubble” of tissue over the iris. It is where the contact lens directly sits on the eye.
A poorly fitting contact lens can cause serious eye damage, including:
- Scratches on the cornea
- Corneal infections, including ulcers (an infection that causes a hole in the cornea)
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Decreased vision
- Swelling in the cornea
I have personally treated infections and corneal ulcers that have occurred due to wearing costume contact lenses, usually purchased online, without a prescription. None of my cases have resulted in permanent blindness, but a corneal ulcer does result in scarring. And, the cornea contains some of the most concentrated nerve tissue in the body. The density of the nerve endings in the cornea is about 300 times that of skin. Therefore, a corneal scratch or ulcer is extremely painful.
So, what’s the best way to buy costume contact lenses?
Come in for a contact lens fitting! We will take measurements of the front surface of the cornea, and can order the costume lenses from our costume lens vendor. When the lenses arrive we will check the fit on your eyes to make sure they have adequate movement and centration. If you have a certain lens in mind, if it’s from a reputable source, we can help you order the lenses, and check the fit after you’ve received them. What if you’ve never worn contact lenses before? Included in a new fitting is a contact lens insertion and care class. It takes about an hour, but at the end you will be a contact lens expert!
Have a fun and safe Halloween, and if you’re thinking about adding decorative contact lenses to your costume, see us first!