With Halloween just around the corner, you’ve probably been thinking about your costume. One thing that can make your costume even more amazing are funky contacts. But you don’t necessarily want to put a piece of plastic from a costume store into your eye. We’ve got some tips for you from the American Optometric Association on how you can look cool in your costume without getting an eye infection. Or worse, damage your eye in any way.
To start, if you can buy contacts without showing a prescription from your eye doctor, they’re not legitimate. Real Halloween contacts can be expensive. They range in price from $22 – $50 per lens. Which means you have to double that to actually get a pair. That seems a little steep, but if you’re wanting to look cool at your Halloween party, it might be worth it.
If you wear contacts on a regular basis, you know what to do, but if this is your first pair, here are some things you should know:
- Wash your hands before handling the lenses. Any dirt that is on your hands will be transferred onto the lens. Which means anything that you’ve touched is now going into your eye.
- Store them in contact lens solution and keep the lenses and their case clean.
- Don’t sleep or swim with them in. I have forgotten to take mine out before I fall asleep. It’s not the end of the world, but it can damage the lenses, so if it’s your only pair – be diligent.
- This goes without saying, but don’t share them with your friends. I have a weird prescription. In that, one of my eyes has a considerably different prescription than the other. Which is why you shouldn’t share them with your friends. Not only that but if you have an eye infection and you share them, they will get it too.
The FDA has a good (albeit old) video that gives you some tips on using Halloween contact lenses.
Contact lenses are regulated by the FDA. According to the FDA’s website, a business that advertises them as cosmetic or sells them over-the-counter, without a prescription, are breaking the law. An eye doctor must measure each eye properly to fit the lenses and evaluate how your eye responds to the contact lens. I have extremely dry eyes, which wasn’t discovered until I purchased the contact lenses from my optometrist. A poor fit can cause serious eye damage, including:
- scratches on the cornea
- corneal infection
- conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- decreased vision
Places that sell decorative lenses without a prescription may give you a few or no instructions on how to clean and care for your lenses. Failure to use proper solution to keep contact lenses clean and moist can lead to infections. You might also have a reaction to some kinds of contact lens solution. Knowing this in advance can help you if you have a reaction to any of the solutions. This happened to me, and I just assumed there was something wrong. If you’re unsure about which contact lenses you should buy or have questions about fit you should ask your eye doctor.