October is Halloween Eye Safety Month!
With Halloween soon upon us, it is not only important to remember safety while trick-or-treating, but also while planning the perfect costume! Decorative lenses are often times especially appealing during Halloween because they can change the appearance of the eyes. Although decorative lenses may seem “cool,” they are not fashion accessories or makeup, and are still considered medical devices that are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  In observation of Halloween Eye Safety this October, remember to talk to your ophthalmologist if you plan on using and obtaining contact lenses as part of your costume!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), “by law, decorative lenses, whether they correct vision or not, require a prescription and proper fitting from an eye doctor.”  No matter how well you can see, “you need to get an eye exam and a prescription from an eye care professional in order to wear any kind of contact lens.”  Without proper medical input, the contact lenses could cause a lot of damage to your eyesight. 
Follow these tips from the FDA, CDC, and AAO to safely wear any type of contact lenses, whether decorative or corrective, for Halloween or any other time of year!
- Get an eye exam. “An eye doctor must measure each eye to properly fit the lenses and evaluate how your eye responds to contact lens wear.” 
- Get a valid prescription. The prescription should include the brand name, correct lens measurements, and expiration date. 
- Buy lenses from a retailer that asks for your prescription. Any distributor that advertises contact lenses as cosmetics or sells them over-the-counter, without a prescription, is breaking the law.  Only buy contact lenses from retailers, whether in store or online, who require a prescription and who only sell FDA-approved contact lenses. 
- Follow proper contact lens care instructions. Follow the directions from your eye doctor for wearing, cleaning, and disinfecting your contact lenses.  Lenses that are not cleaned and disinfected increase the risk of eye infection. 
- Don’t share your contact lenses with others. There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ contact lens. All eyes are not the same size and shape, and your contact lenses are fitted specifically for your eyes. 
The CDC states that “when decorative contact lenses are sold without a prescription, proper fitting, and education about wear and care from an eye doctor, there appears to be a greater risk of permanent eye damage—even blindness.”  However, it is important to note that no type of contact lens is ‘risk free.’  If you notice redness, swelling, excessive discharge, pain, or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses and seek immediate medical attention! 
Be safe and have a Happy Halloween!
Check out our Contact Lens Pinterest Board for more helpful information!