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This Halloween Beware of Special Effect Lenses


With the autumn comes Halloween and with that, dressing up. As a consumer, you want to know of certain hazards to your eyes that could put a damper on the fun and games.

Over the past few years, special effect contacts have become popular particularly with teenagers and young adults and this is alarming eye doctors. Contact lenses are a medical device regulated by the FDA. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without a license which is the case with most outlets where costumes and party goods are sold, however obviously the regulations are often ignored. Unlicensed production may use inferior materials or even toxic coloring elements to dye the lenses. Further, wearing contacts without proper instruction and handling, can cause significant eye injury such as infection, abrasion or even blindness.

For those who do wish to use cosmetic lenses, it is important to make an exam appointment with your eye care practitioner first. After a comprehensive eye exam, the practitioner will determine the proper size, curvature and if required prescription required for the contacts. The practitioner will also give essential guidance on proper hygiene of the lenses.

Failure to take appropriate precautions in wearing and storing contact lenses can cause infections, soreness, or more severe eye abrasions or ulcers. The eyes are very sensitive and no item should be applied in them without careful guidance from a professional eye care expert.

Never buy lenses from any place that is not a licensed seller that you can guarantee sells products approved by the FDA. Even when purchasing lenses without corrective power, they must conform to health standards and require a prescription. Steer clear of websites, flea markets or beauty supply stores that may carry homemade products tinted with dangerous dyes. To find out if the store has a license to sell contacts you can request the state license number and call the state Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) to check.

If your Halloween costume just won't be the same without decorative lenses, consult with your trusted eye care professional to discuss your options. Halloween shouldn't be a "Hallowed" night for your eyes. Be aware of the dangers unsupervised use of lenses can be to your eyes.