Why Costume Contacts are Not Always a Good Idea
Colored contact lenses are sometimes the perfect final touch to take a Halloween costume to the next level.
Unfortunately, not all costume lenses are created equal — or with equal concern for wearer safety. With Halloween coming up, we want to give all of our costume-loving patients some guidance on how to find great costume lenses and care for them properly to protect their eye health.
Never Forget that Contact Lenses Are Medical Devices
Yes, that includes contact lenses that are only for appearance. Unlike a pair of glasses with no lenses, contact lenses are classified as medical devices whether they help you see clearly or not. Don’t just assume you can buy some costume lenses without getting a prescription even if your vision is 20/20 or better, because contact lens prescriptions are about the fit of the lenses on your corneas as much as they are about vision correction.
Beware Unscrupulous Vendors
This brings us to a common red flag when looking at costume lens vendors. If they require a prescription before they sell to you, then they are likely trustworthy. It is illegal to sell contacts in the US without requiring a prescription, so if a vendor tries that, run! You don’t know what other safety laws they’re willing to break if they’re already breaking that one, such as regulations on sanitation and quality of materials. It’s worth the money to pay a little more for lenses you know are safe.
Eyes Come in Different Shapes and Sizes
We touched on this already, but human eyeballs don’t all come in one identical shape and size. There’s no such thing as a one size fits all contact lens. If you try to wear a contact that doesn’t fit the particular curve of your eye, it might fall out or put you at risk of an eye injury. Just another reason that prescription is worth getting!
Take Good Care of Those Lenses Once You Get Them
After you’ve found a trustworthy vendor and purchased contacts that fit your prescription, it’s essential to take proper care of them and use them as directed so that your risk of eye infection is as low as possible. Here are a few tips to follow:
- Thoroughly wash your hands before inserting or removing contact lenses.
- Touch or rub your eyes as little as you can while the contacts are in.
- Never clean your contacts with any substance besides fresh contact lens solution. (That means no water and DEFINITELY no saliva! Oral bacteria shouldn’t go anywhere near your eyes!)
- We’ll repeat part of that last one because it’s important: only clean and store contact lenses in FRESH contact lens solution. Don’t try to make your solution last longer by reusing it.
- Carefully read the instructions that come with your lenses. Don’t wear them longer than the instructions recommend, and replace them as often as the instructions say to.
- Make sure to take your contacts out before falling asleep! This is a good idea with any contact lenses, but especially large scleral lenses that cover the whites of the eyes. Your eyes need to breathe!
- Also important for scleral lenses, make sure to stay hydrated and use contact-friendly eyedrops as needed.
Let’s Get You That Contact Lens Prescription!
If you think your next Halloween costume could use a pair of cool contact lenses and you don’t have a prescription yet, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us! We’re also happy to answer any questions you might still have about costume lenses and give you a few recommendations on where to find some trustworthy vendors. Just make sure you send us pictures of your costume!