Know the Risks When Wearing Halloween Contact Lenses

As a family, Halloween is one of our favorite holidays of the year! Not only is it a chance to dress up and don some pretty spooky makeup, it’s also the opportunity for us to connect with our community at local gatherings and door-knocking activities.

But as an optometrist, I’ve seen my fair share of injuries and infections that have been caused by people using Halloween Contact Lenses as part of their costume. These are the cheap cat eyes or zombie lenses that you can buy from the dollar store or from online retailers, all of which are made overseas without the appropriate testing required for contact lenses. 

The worst-case scenario is that if you wear a pair of cheap contact lenses, you could go blind. If they’re not fitted properly, they can cause rubbing and scratching on the eye’s surface allowing bacteria in, causing infections. On a less severe note, they’re known to cause conjunctivitis (pink eye), irritation, ulcers or sores which might impact your vision in the short and long term.

Ideally, I’d recommend choosing NOT to wear Halloween Contact Lenses, however if you are adamant you need them for your costume, make sure you follow these guidelines. 

6 Ways to Protect Your Eyes

  1. Make sure you never purchase lenses from a random store, instead visit your eye doctor to get a prescription (even if you don’t require contacts normally)
  2. Clean and store them properly ensuring you wash your hands before and after use and use a fresh solution.
  3. Like regular contacts, you shouldn’t sleep in them as this will make you more prone to infections and irritate your eyes. 
  4. Whatever you do, never swap your lenses with a friend or use someone else’s prescription lenses. 
  5. Don’t reuse lenses from last Halloween because even though you may have only worn them once, contact lens cases and solutions need to be frequently replaced to maintain their anti-microbial properties.
  6. If you experience any redness, swelling or discomfort you should immediately remove your contact lenses and contact your optician as this could be the sign of a sight-threatening infection.
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