Halloween is just around the corner, and witches, ghouls, and goblins are prepping for a night of fun-filled tricking and treating! You may not know it, but some costume accessories, like decorative contacts, can be very harmful to your eyes.

“It’s fun to go all out on your Halloween costume, but one night of fun is not worth losing your precious gift of vision,” Dr. DiGirolamo.

While having tiger eyes or red vampire eyes may really “complete” your Halloween costume, all trick or treaters need to be extremely careful. Purchasing decorative contact lenses, now also called “zero power lenses,” without a prescription can result in serious infections and eye disorders.

In 2005, federal law classified all contact lenses as “medical devices” and restricted their distribution. You should only buy contact lenses from a licensed eye care professional with an accompanying prescription from an eye doctor. Obtaining a prescription requires measuring the curvature, size and dryness of the eyes. Each patient’s eyes are unique, so the contact fitting process is a critical step in maintaining the health of your eyes. Patients can test different lenses and learn how to apply and care for them.

Ill-fitting contacts can easily scratch your eyes and even cause blood vessels to grow into the cornea, the part of the eye transmiting and focusing light onto the eye. Once the surface is scratched, it is open for bacteria to grow and thrive, causing infections and potentially scarring the corneal tissue. Scarring can impair vision and possibly lead to a corneal transplant, which involves a period of impaired vision and could leave a patient with the risk of complications for the rest of his or her lifetime.

Be safe this Halloween. Don’t eat too much candy, and don’t use contacts of any type without the proper prescription. If you have any questions or comments about decorative contacts, please call us directly at (434) 977-2020. We are happy to help you decide whether or not they’re right for you!