Eye Safety And Color Cosmetic Contact Lenses
CBS News reported earlier this year that there was an increase in emergency room visits during Halloween due to the use of color contact lenses. Cosmetic contact lenses can increase the chances of developing eye infections. Compared to regular lenses, decorative contacts are thicker, less breathable, and more rigid. This creates an environment where bacteria and other microorganisms can easily get trapped under the lenses, leading to the formation of sores known as corneal ulcers. If left untreated, this can cause keratitis, a serious eye infection.
As we approach Halloween 2023, it is important to make eye safety a priority during festive activities. Wearing non-prescription contact lenses to change the appearance of your eyes can be dangerous. It may lead to eye infections and scratched corneas that could cause blindness. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has encouraged people to be mindful of the potential risks associated with costume contact lenses. These lenses are often sold illegally as cosmetic accessories and may not be sterile, which makes them even more dangerous.
Parents and children should discuss whether children should wear colored contacts as there is no particular age recommended by doctors for children to wear them. In the United States, it is illegal to sell contact lenses without a prescription, including colored contact lenses for Halloween. During Halloween, people can buy color contact lenses online, in novelty shops, beauty salons, and Halloween stores, but it’s important to note that violating the law may result in fines.
Colored costume contact lenses are classified as medical devices by the FDA. Therefore, uncertified color contact lenses can pose serious risks, including minor irritations, severe eye infections, and even potential vision loss. Children’s colored costume contact lenses should be properly fitted by a licensed eye doctor with proper training. Otherwise, there is a risk of eye infections, scratched corneas, and even blindness associated with colored costume contact lenses.
Color Costume Contact Lenses
It is important to remember that there are no exceptions to the law when it comes to contact lenses. Even if you have perfect vision, you must visit an eye care professional to get an eye exam and prescription before you can use contact lenses. This is also applicable to color contact lenses for Halloween. A proper examination guarantees that the lens fits well and is the right fit for your eye. Poorly fitting lenses can be difficult to put on and take off and can cause serious harm.
However, many retailers are violating the law. In the U.S., since 2005, it has been illegal to sell contact lenses without a prescription. The federal law classifies all contact lenses as medical devices and restricts their distribution to licensed eye care professionals. The illegal sale of contact lenses can lead to civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation. If you see or believe that a retailer is selling contact lenses without a prescription, contact the FDA and report the retailer.
Illegally Sold Contact Lenses And The Consequences (American Academy of Ophthalmology)
- Illegally sold circle lenses bypass several crucial safeguards
- No instructions and training on lens fitting, wear, and care that is specific to you, your eyes, and the contacts you are prescribed.
- Counterfeit lenses are common if you’re buying through an illegal outlet
- Some illegal lenses have even been found to be re-packaged and can be contaminated with chemicals or germs when you receive them.
- If the retailer or seller is not approved/regulated by the FDA there is no guarantee that the lenses meet the FDA quality requirements; not clear, fit properly, and are the correct size, or shape for your eyes.
Risks Associated With Colored Contact
- Increase the odds of eye and corneal infections
- Scratches on the cornea
- Pink Eye
- Possible allergic reactions
- Vision impairment
- Potential blindness
- It can slide around on the eye and can impair vision
Tips To Help You With Reducing The Risk Associated With Wear Colored Costume Contact Lenses (American Academy of Ophthalmology)
- Get an eye exam from an eye care professional such as an ophthalmologist, or an eye medical doctor who will measure each eye and talk to you about proper contact lens care
- Obtain a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and expiration date.
- Purchase the colored contact lenses from a retailer who asks for a prescription
- Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses
- Never share contact lenses with another person.
- Get follow-up exams as directed by your eye care provider.
Contact our office if you experience issues like redness, swelling, excessive discharge, pain, or discomfort due to contact lenses you must remove them immediately and contact your ophthalmologist immediately. This is important because eye infections can become serious in a short period and the impact may be irreversible.