All contact lenses are medical devices that are regulated by the U.S. government. By law, decorative contact lenses, whether they correct vision or not, require a prescription and proper fitting from an eye doctor. Any type of contact lens that can be purchased without a prescription is being sold illegally—and can pose serious risks to sight and eye health. Do not purchase decorative contact lenses from costume shops, beauty salons, drug stores, flea markets, or anywhere that doesn’t require a prescription. You can buy contact lenses from eye doctors’ offices, online, or by mail order but only with a valid prescription. You should continue care as directed by your eye doctor with any type of contact lens purchased.
For all types of contact lenses, not wearing and caring for them properly raises the chances of serious eye infections. Here’s a few tips to help you:
- Never share contact lenses with others.
- Rub and rinse your contact lenses with contact lens disinfecting solution—never water or saliva—to clean them each time you remove them. Even if worn occasionally, contact lenses must be disinfected and stored in new solution at least every 7 days.
- Never store your contact lenses in water.
- Replace your contact lenses as often as recommended by your eye doctor.
- Replace your contact lens case at least once every three months.
- Don’t “top off” solution. Use only fresh contact lens disinfecting solution in your case—never mix fresh solution with old or used solution.
Don’t let an eye infection be the scariest part of your Halloween. Using decorative lenses without a valid prescription can cause serious harm to your eyes—haunting you long after October 31. You can safely buy contact lenses from eye doctors’ offices, online, or by mail order with a valid prescription. Do not purchase decorative contact lenses from costume shops, online stores, beauty salons, drug stores, flea markets, or anywhere that doesn’t require a prescription. When decorative contact lenses are sold without a prescription, proper fitting, and education from an eye doctor, there may be a higher chance of contact lens-related eye problems. Decorative lenses purchased without a prescription may not fit properly, leaving the eye more susceptible to scratches on the outer layer of the eye, or getting an ulcer (an open sore) on the cornea- the clear covering over the front of the eye. The result of a scratch or sore can be scarring, infection, and permanent vision reduction or loss.
Educate yourself and others about the dangers (including eye sores and vision loss) of using decorative contact lenses without a prescription. Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween and practice healthy contact lens wear and care.