Halloween 2023: Playing It Safe And Avoiding Illegal Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Halloween 2023 And Eye Safety

It is recommended that parents and children make the decision together about whether children should wear colored contacts, as there is no specific age at which doctors suggest allowing children to wear them. By law, it is illegal to sell any contact lenses without a prescription in the United States, including colored contact lenses for Halloween. During Halloween, individuals can purchase color contact lenses online, in novelty shops, beauty salons, and in Halloween stores, but it is important to note that those who violate the law may face fines.

It is important to note that the FDA classifies colored costume contact lenses as medical devices. Therefore, uncertified color contact lenses can pose serious risks, such as 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 who is trained to do so. Otherwise, there is a potential for eye infections, scratched corneas, and even blindness linked to colored costume contact lenses.

As Halloween 2023 is quickly approaching, it is essential to prioritize eye safety while engaging in various festivities. According to a CBS News report from earlier this year, emergency room visits increased around Halloween due to the use of color contact lenses. Wearing non-prescription contact lenses to alter the appearance of your eyes can be hazardous and cause eye infections, as well as scratched corneas that can lead to blindness. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has cautioned the public to be alert to the potential risks associated with wearing costume contact lenses. These lenses are often sold illegally as cosmetic accessories and may not be sterile, making them even more dangerous.

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
  • Infection
  • 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.

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Wilck Schwartz & Novak OD PC
Complete Eye Care
445 Kings Highway, Suite 1
Brooklyn, NY 11223

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