To answer this question requires a little bit of background information. Contact lenses are not like bandaids that you buy at the store and can be placed on the eye as needed with little regard for what harm the bandage will cause to the wearer. Contact lenses are an FDA regulated device that are measured and prescribed to patients based on size, material, vision, and fitment parameters. When an eye doctor writes a prescription for contact lenses, it is brand specific to be a lens that give the eye the right amount of coverage, is the right curvature to match the wearers eye, is not too tight or too loose, gives good vision, and allows the appropriate amount of tears and oxygen to permeate into the eye without allowing debris such as dust and dirt to be trapped under the lens which can lead to severe complications.
FDA approved costume contact lenses for festive occasions such as Halloween are not harmful to a patients eye and safe to use as directed so long as the wearer has been approved and prescribed the exact brand, and parameters to fit all of the above conditions. There are a few small specifics that may vary in different regions and state laws but the fundamentals listed above remain the same.
The issue from a safety aspect are Halloween contact lenses that are sold to a customer over the counter at a gas station. Yes, believe it or not there are unregulated “lenses” that people place on their eyes that are sold next to the candy bars and stale hot dogs at certain convenience stores. There are also many online merchants that sell costume lenses with wild colors and cat eye shapes that are not FDA approved, with unknown materials they are made from in sizes that also are unknown. Dr. Gindi has personally seen a litany of emergency cases of extreme infections and other complications of patients wearing these. There was a case where a patient experienced eye pain and blurry vision from complications from wearing these lenses for a single night to a Halloween party.
The purpose of this article is not to shy people away from costume contact lenses that can be purchased for a special event or occasion. There are some amazing fun colors and styles available from reputable brands that are FDA approved and can be very safe to wear. Contact lenses are considered a medical device by the FDA and require a prescription from a doctor. The risks involved in illegitimate contact lenses are similar to buying a prescription pill from the gas station and ingesting it. The risks just aren’t worth it. Book an appointment with our office today and ask Dr. Gindi if Halloween contact lenses would be right for you.