Happy Halloween from Hahn Eye Center! We are starting a monthly blog to answer some of the frequently asked questions that we get from our patients. In the spirit of Halloween we are going to address fashion /cosmetic contacts. Although cosmetic contacts are fun and can add a lot to a costume are they safe?
The first thing you need in order to wear contact lenses is a contact lens fitting. During the fitting the doctor determines if you are a good candidate for lenses, helps you to learn to safely insert and remove the lenses and how to care for them. It is illegal in the U.S to sell any contacts without a prescription and fit from a licensed professional. Contact lenses are medical devices and need to be used appropriately, if not they can blind you. Misuse of contact lenses can lead to diseases like corneal abrasions, ulcers and keratits.
If you absolutely have to use cosmetic contacts make sure that they come from a reputable company. So which ones are reputable? Typically they will require a doctor’s prescription and will advertise their FDA approval. This is important especially for the cosmetic lenses because all of the paints and pigments can lower oxygen transmission of the lens. You would also want to know what modality the lens is so you know how often it needs to be thrown away monthly, 2 week, or daily. Now if the lens is for a costume then it will most likely only be used once but that means under no circumstances should you save the same lens to be worn the next year.
I would love to believe this goes without saying but just in case: DO NOT SHARE LENSES! Even though these lenses are for fun and not meant to be worn full time the prescription and fit is only for the individual who had the eye exam.
From all of us here at Hahn Eye Center we hope you have a happy and safe Halloween!