Halloween, parties, and Comic-Con-style events are all worth getting into costume over. But when it comes to colored contact lenses, stopping by the closest costume store isn’t such a good idea.
So can colored contacts hurt your eyes? The short answer: Yes, non-prescription lenses can, and here’s why.
Contact lenses are classified as a medical device in the US. This means contact manufacturers are regulated by the FDA to make sure the lenses are well made, sanitary and safe.
In fact, it’s illegal to sell contacts in the US without a prescription, which means any Halloween or novelty shop selling color-changing contacts are breaking the law (unless they have a government-issued license to sell contacts).
Vendors might use toxic materials. The colored dyes and lens material may not be approved by the FDA for contact with your eyes, which can cause harm to not only your eyes but the rest of your body.
Unfitted lenses can scratch your eyes. When you get a prescription, your eye doctor fits contacts to the shape of your cornea, much like a shoe to a foot. A wrong sized lens can scratch or even cut the lining of your eye.
Lenses may not be sterile. When non-FDA-approved contacts are made and packaged, they may be contaminated by unclean hands or machinery. Infections from unsterile lenses like these have a chance of causing pain, vision loss or even blindness.
Safety training is essential. When you’re given a prescription for contact lenses, your optometrist will teach you how to use, insert and clean your lenses. Without this training, you can develop infections and abrasions in your eye.
To make sure you’re getting safe contact lenses, only buy from a licensed practitioner or optometrist. Schedule an eye exam to determine the proper size, curvature and—if required—prescription for your eyes. Your doctor will also guide you on how to insert, remove and care for the lenses.
Want to know if a retailer is licensed to sell contact lenses? Ask for their state license number and call the state Department of Professional Regulations to check.
And when you’re ready for your eye exam, give us a call.