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Are cosmetic contact lenses safe?

Posted on October 14th, 2021

Halloween is fast-approaching, and by now, you’ve probably already started prepping your costume. Coloured contacts are a popular (and easy) way to take your look to the next level—whether you’re a zombie or a skeleton—and shift your costume’s vibe from sweet to spooky.

Our goal here isn’t to scare you, but you should be aware that costume contact lenses are actually pretty risky if they’re not used properly. In fact, permanent eye damage is a possibility when applying any contact lens that was not fit by an eyecare professional.

It’s often overlooked that these decorative lenses—which alter the colour and appearance of your eye—are a medical device that need to be handled with care. If not properly worn, costume contacts can cause serious medical issues, including corneal abrasions, corneal ulcers, and other painful infections—some of which can lead to blindness.

Seeing your optometrist prior to sporting spooky lenses is ideal, as they will ensure the lenses are properly fitted to your eyes, help teach proper handling and care, and confirm that you’re a good candidate for contacts. However, if you’re unable to consult with a doctor in time for Halloween festivities, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering wearing costume contacts:

  1. Only buy the lenses from trusted retailers, and ensure whatever product you purchase is licensed by Health Canada.
  2. To avoid infection, always thoroughly wash and dry your hands before handling the lenses. Germs from your hands can be transferred to your contact lenses, some of which can cause eye infections.
  3. Rub and rinse the lenses with an approved contact lens solution before and after wear.
  4. Store lenses in an approved contact lens solution and wash the case between each wear.
  5. Never share the contacts with anyone else, as wearing lenses worn by someone else greatly increases the risk of bacterial infections.
  6. Avoid sleeping in them. If you fall asleep with the lenses in, you’re reducing oxygen to your eyes, and the surface of the eye becomes more vulnerable to infection.

If you experience any discomfort or vision issues once you insert them, don’t wait until after you’ve gone trick-or-treating! Immediately reach out to an eye care professional to ensure there is no permanent damage done.

Our main piece of advice: Don’t lose sight of your eye health this Halloween!

If you have questions or would like to book an appointment with us, find your nearest location.