Believe it or not, now’s the time to start thinking about your Halloween costume! If you get the jump on your competition, you can land the most creative outfit while the selection is best. You’ll also have plenty of time to special order any accessories you may need. The last thing you want to do at the end of October is comb every store in a fifty-mile radius for that one perfect item you need to finish your look. And it never fails - one of the hardest to find items are those creepy-cool contact lenses that will instantly turn you into a cat, werewolf, vampire or alien from another planet.
But wait…should you be buying Halloween contact lenses from just anyone? Should you trust a costume store, drug store or beauty supply store when it comes to your eyesight?
WITHOUT A DOUBT – THE ANSWER IS NO.
Whether you call them Halloween contacts, fashion contacts, theatrical contacts or cosmetic contacts, they’re all medical devices. That’s right – ANY contact lens is a medical device that is regulated and controlled by the Food and Drug Administration, even if they are sold without a prescription. The FDA is in charge of overseeing the sale and use of all contact lenses, regardless of their purpose. Any person or entity selling contact lenses to you without a prescription is breaking the law. They can be prosecuted and fined for each transaction they complete. If you walk into a costume store and buy a pair of vampire contacts off the shelf, a crime is being committed.
There are many legal places to buy decorative contact lenses, but each of them requires a prescription. You can get them from your eye doctor, qualified Internet merchants or mail order companies, or from licensed distributors. Anyone who offers to sell you contact lenses should ALWAYS ask you for a prescription and verify the prescription with the doctor who provided it. If they don’t ask you for this information, they are breaking the law.
When it comes to wearing any type of contact lenses, safety is the key. These tiny devices are being inserted directly into your eye, and must fit perfectly to prevent damage that can cause redness, pain, infection, injury and even blindness. It can only take a few minutes to cause problems that will be with you for a lifetime.
There are risks when wearing any type of contact lenses, but non-prescription theatrical lenses that are not dispensed and fitted by a professional carry a much higher level of risk. Common issues include:
- A cut or scratch on the top layer of your eyeball (Corneal Abrasion)
- Allergic reactions like itchy, watery red eyes
- Decreased vision
Before you finish off your costume with the perfect contact lenses, complete this essential checklist:
- Visit your optometrist for a vision exam – Your eye doctor can ensure that your eyes are healthy enough for contact lenses and make sure they will fit you correctly. An imperfect fit can cause injury and decreased vision that can last the rest of your life. Do you need more convincing? Read Leah’s story here. And if your optometrist schedules follow-up visits, be sure to complete them as well.
- Make sure you have a prescription – By law, all contact lenses dispensed must have a prescription. If you can buy fashion contact lenses from a provider that does not require a prescription, end the transaction and go elsewhere.
- Review the care instructions and follow them carefully – Learn how to wear, clean, disinfect and store your lenses. Follow the rules every time you use them.
- Don’t allow anyone else to borrow your contact lenses!
- At the first sign of redness, irritation, excessive tearing or discharge, remove the lenses immediately. If the symptoms don’t resolve within a few hours, see your eye doctor right away.
- Consider alternative eye accents if you aren’t able to obtain a legal pair of prescription Halloween contact lenses. Jazz up your look with carefully applied non-toxic makeup, or find glasses that pack a serious punch. Imagine your cat outfit accented by the perfect pair of black designer frames with a vicious, extreme cat-eye shape, or complete your vampire look with eyewear accented with gothic crystals. Create a biker werewolf look with mirrored aviator shades, heavy boots and a leather jacket topping your fur costume. Even if you don’t normally wear glasses, the perfect accent pair with non-prescription lenses can completely finish your look.
If you’re thinking about Halloween contact lenses, it’s time to schedule your vision test! Beat the rush and make sure you have the safest contact lens option available when it’s your time to shine. Don’t get tricked - call Pro-Optix Eye Care today at 713-360-7095 for a treat from a leading Houston eye doctor!