Tips for Safely Wearing Costume Contact Lenses | Free News

Once upon a time, getting ready for Halloween night was often a homemade affair: Your parents took old shirts, scarves and other odds and ends to transform you into a pirate, a princess or an astronaut.

Today, Halloween costumes have reached a whole new level. One of the most popular dress-up items are costume contact lenses, designed to give Halloween celebrants the weird eyes of imps, aliens, or otherworldly beings. But while these decorative lenses can put the “wow” in your costume, potential wearers should exercise caution – they could cause actual eye problems for their wearers.

One of the main threats posed to the eyes by costume lenses are potential scratches on the cornea, the transparent outer “window” of the eye that allows light to enter, the Hattiesburg Eye Clinic surgeon said. , Dr. Todd Williamson. This risk is greater with general “one size fits all” lenses that have not been properly fitted to the individual wearer.

“Not only can corneal abrasions cause a lot of pain, but they can also make the eye more susceptible to bacterial infections,” Williamson said. “The corneal scarring that could result from such an infection could be so extensive that the person might need a corneal transplant to restore their sight.”

These health risks to your eyes aren’t worth the extra level of dread that non-prescription costume lenses could provide your Halloween character. But it may be possible to safely add these decorative lenses to a candy outfit if these four guidelines are followed:

• Buy only FDA-approved prescription lenses. It is not a good idea to buy costume lenses intended for general use. Instead, visit your eye care provider or a costume supply retailer that sells FDA-approved (and prescription-only) lenses.

• Do not share your contacts with others. Costume lenses must fit your eyes properly and are not intended for use by anyone else. Additionally, sharing lenses with other people could increase the spread of germs and bacteria that lead to various types of eye infections.

• Follow product instructions. In addition to buying only FDA-approved products, you can further reduce your risk of eye problems by following the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing your lenses. Your eye care provider can also provide additional advice on how to properly care for your lenses.

• Limit the time you wear costume lenses. Even the highest quality costume lenses can restrict the steady flow of oxygen to the cornea. Wearing them for long periods of time could therefore have a detrimental effect on the health of your eyes. To better protect your eyes, don’t wear costume lenses for more than four or five hours at a time, and never sleep with them in your eyes.

For more information on eye protection and other vision-related topics, go to or call 601-268-5910 or 800-624-8254.

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