How to Safely Wear Costume Contacts
Colored contacts, sometimes referred to as costume or decorative contacts, can be a great accessory to a Halloween costume or just a fun way to switch up your look. However, just like any contact lens, decorative contacts are medical devices that require proper fitting, instruction, and observance by an eye care professional for optimal eye health.
1. Never Purchase Contacts from Any Retailers That Do Not Require a Prescription
Just like corrective contact lenses, you should only purchase colored contacts from a reputable vendor that requires you to provide your prescription. Any retailers including costume shops, online vendors, or beauty supply stores that sell costume contacts without asking for your prescription are doing so illegally. Contact lenses sold without requiring a prescription are often not properly fit to your eyes, not FDA approved, and can contain harmful contaminants which can increase your chance of getting an eye injury or infection.
2. Always Get Your Costume Contacts Professionally Prescribed and Fitted
Your eye doctor will be able to measure each of your eyes and evaluate how they respond to contact lens wear to determine the ideal size, shape, and material of contacts that will work best for you. They will then provide you with a prescription that includes your lens measurements, the brand name of your lenses, and an expiration date that you can use when purchasing your contacts. These crucial steps can help you avoid common eye injuries often caused by ill-fitting contacts such as corneal scratches, allergic reactions, infections, and more.
3. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly Before Putting In or Removing Your Contacts
Before handling your contacts, always make sure to wash your hands with warm water and oil-free soap, rinse them thoroughly to remove any soap residue, and dry them completely to avoid spreading any germs to your eyes.
4. Practice Proper Contact Lens Care and Storage Habits
Follow the care guidelines provided by your optometrist and contact lens manufacturer to properly clean, disinfect and store your contact lenses. If you are using disposable contacts, simply dispose of them each night. For reusable contacts, ensure you clean them with fresh contact lens solution after each use and then place them in a clean case with fresh solution. Never rinse your lenses or case with tap water as it can contain bacteria that may be harmful to your eyes. For more tips on how to care for your contacts, click here.
5. Never Share Your Contact Lenses with Friends or Family
Your contacts are specifically designed to fit your eyes. Since not everyone’s eyes are the same shape or size, your contacts may not be the right fit for someone else. Just as wearing the wrong size shoes may cause blisters, sharing someone’s contact lenses that are not the right size for your eyes can spread unwanted bacteria, resulting in an increased risk of eye irritation, infection, and injuries.
6. Seek Medical Attention If You Are Experiencing Any Pain, Irritation, or Blurred Vision
Remove your contacts immediately if they start to cause pain, irritation, or changes in your vision. These symptoms might be a result of an eye infection or injury and you should schedule an exam right away. Your optometrist will be able to assess your condition and give you a recommended treatment plan if necessary.