It can be beyond cool to truly get into character this Halloween and switch up your look with colored contacts. Whether you want to change your eye color to another natural shade or you want to delve into more unnatural colors and pupil types, like snake eyes, it’s crucial that you exercise caution with your colored contact lens in order to keep your eyes safe and healthy.
Colored contacts can be safe, but they can also blind you or cause permanent eye damage if you do not purchase them from appropriate retailers. Here is what you need to know about colored contacts and how to keep your eyes safe this Halloween.
Are Colored Contacts Safe?
They can be! It depends on whether or not the retailer requires your prescription and is FDA-approved or not.
If you obtain your colored contact lenses from a retailer that requires you to provide your prescription and the name and number of your eye doctor, they are likely compliant with FDA regulations, and ergo, are safe. Once receiving your FDA-approved colored contact lenses, you will want to practice contact lens hygiene while storing, cleaning, and wearing the lenses.
However, many retailers sell colored contact lenses illegally. These are not safe and can cause serious harm to your eyes.
Why Do You Need A Prescription For Colored Contact Lenses?
Contact lenses, even non-prescription contact lenses, are medical devices. This means that they are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and that you need a prescription from an eye doctor in order to obtain them.
If It’s Illegal To Sell Colored Contacts Without A Prescription, Why Can You Buy Them?
Many, many different retailers use Halloween in order to sell colored contact lenses, also known as cosplay contacts, costume contacts, and decorative contacts. If they do not require you to provide your prescription, they are breaking the law, as contact lenses are medical devices that necessitate a prescription and must be FDA-approved.
Unfortunately, it is easy to find non-prescription colored contact lenses in many different places, especially online. You should never purchase contact lenses from:
- Online shops that do not require your prescription
- Gas stations
- Halloween stores
- Convenience stores
- Flea markets
- Or any other shop that does not require your prescription and the name and contact information of your eye doctor.
If you find a shop or a site that you think is selling contacts illegally, you can report them to the FDA.
Why Is It So Important To Have A Prescription For Contacts?
Since costume contacts are often advertised as an accessory or a cosmetic, many people don’t realize how crucial it is that you have a prescription for them, even if you do not normally need corrective lenses. If you do not need glasses or contacts, you may assume that you’re fine to get colored lenses without a prescription, since you don’t typically use one.
However, your prescription is more than just how much correction your lenses need. It also ensures that your contacts are fitted properly to your eyes. Contact lenses are not a one-size-fits-all product. Wearing improperly fitted lenses can cause severe damage to your eyes.
Some of the eye damages you can experience from improperly fitting lenses include:
- Eye infections
- Scratches on your cornea
- Pink eye
- Vision loss
The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns that permanent eye damage can occur even after only wearing non-prescription colored lenses once. They list multiple stories about people who suffered severe eye damage from colored lenses that they purchased without a prescription, who mentioned experiencing the contacts sticking to their eyes like suction cups and needing to go to the emergency room.
Switching up your look for one night with non-prescription lenses is not worth potential blindness. It’s worth going the longer route to obtain them safely and legally so that you can both enjoy a fun, new look and keep your vision protected.
How Do You Get Safe Colored Contact Lenses?
If you have your heart set on changing your eye color for your Halloween costume, or simply for fun, you can still do this, so long as you go through the proper channels! Here’s how you can get colored contact lenses that are safe for your eyes.
- Get an eye exam. Even if you don’t need corrective lenses, your eye doctor will need to measure your eyes in order to ensure that you are a good candidate for contact lenses and so that your contacts fit correctly.
- Get your prescription. This doesn’t just include lens strength, but also their measurements, an expiration date, and the name of the brand of lens your eye doctor suggests.
- Purchase your contacts from a seller that requires your prescription. Some online sites can be sneaky, and claim to sell “prescription” lenses, by just allowing you to choose lens strength. These are not fitted to your eyes. You want to purchase your colored contact lenses from a site that actually requires your prescription.
- Be safe while using them. This includes cleaning them, storing them properly, wearing them properly, never sharing them with someone else, and following all the instructions. If you experience any pain or discomfort or redness while wearing your contacts, it’s crucial that you see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Keep Your Eyes Safe This Halloween With A Prescription
Some frights can be fun, but when it comes to your eyesight, it’s vital that you do whatever you can to protect your eyes. Buying colored contact lenses can be very fun, but always ensure that you’re safe and you purchase them from a legal source. Non-prescription colored contact lenses are incredibly dangerous, and the risks simply aren’t worth the temporary satisfaction of having purple eyes for the night.
Keep your eyes safe by ensuring that you buy your colored contact lenses from a legal source and have a prescription for them.