Experts Warn Halloween Costume Contact Lenses Can Lead to Eye Infections and Blindness

By Jack Davis
October 20, 2017 at 4:10pm

Contact lenses designed to give your eyes an ominous appearance might seem like a great way to stand out at a Halloween party, but federal and medical officials warn that these decorative contact lenses pose serious risk to the eyes, according to WBZ.

“It is important people understand the risk they’re taking when they wear contacts without a prescription,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “Wearing non-prescription contacts just once, like during Halloween, can still cause serious damage.”

Some of the cases we see, patients sharing lenses with friends, wearing the same pair year after year well past the expiry date, and storing them in tap water, have devastating effects, Doctors stress the importance of lens after-care in avoiding infection, explaining that most novelty lens brands don’t offer substantial medical advice, which puts wearers at a higher risk of developing injuries and possible sight loss.

“Adding a special effect to your Halloween costume can be fun, but it is not worth risking your eyesight,” he added.

Although some states, like Ohio, ban sale of such lenses, they remain easily available online.

Doctors and the FDA are concerned about the health dangers presented by the contacts. Risks include scratches on the cornea, allergic reactions, vision problems and infections. In some cases, vision loss and blindness can follow.

“Even though these are non-corrective lenses, they still pose the same potential health and safety risks as other contact lenses,” said Glenda Secor of the American Optometric Association.

“When purchased over the counter, decorative contact lenses can put people at risk for bacterial infections, allergic reactions, or even significant damage to the eye’s ability to function, with the potential for irreversible sight loss,” she said. “Sadly, numerous cases of serious harm have been documented.”

The Food and Drug Administration offered the reminder that just because a product can be purchased does not mean there are no risks.

“Right now there are a lot of products that you can buy without a prescription but they may not be safe or legal. Never buy contact lenses from a street vendor, a beauty supply store, flea market, novelty store or Halloween store,” the FDA said on its website.

“Wearing decorative contact lenses can be risky, just like the contact lenses that correct your vision. Wearing any kind of contact lenses, including decorative ones, can cause serious damage to your eyes if the lenses are obtained without a prescription or not used correctly,” the statement added.

The FDA warned anyone who uses lenses that if they suffer pain, redness in the eyes or decreased vision to stop wearing the lenses immediately before the problem gets worse.

Image: iStock


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