With the autumn comes Halloween and with that, costumes. It’s important to be aware of certain threats to your eyes and vision that sometimes come along with the Halloween spirit.

A popular costume addition as of late has been special effect contact lenses and this is alarming eye care professionals. Contact lenses are a medical device regulated by the FDA. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without a license which is applicable to costume and party stores, however clearly the regulations are often ignored. Unlicensed manufacturers may use inferior plastics or even dangerous coloring elements to color the contacts. Additionally, wearing contacts without adequate fitting and treatment, can cause significant eye damage such as infection, abrasion or even vision loss.

For those who do wish to wear cosmetic contacts, it is important to make an exam appointment with a licensed eye care professional. After a contact lens evaluation and eye exam, the doctor will be able to recommend a lens that fits well and is safe for your eyes. The optometrist will also provide necessary guidance on proper handling and cleaning of contact lenses.

Despite the fact that many incorrectly perceive decorative lenses as just another beauty item, uneducated use of lenses can result in significant danger to your eyes and eye sight. No item should ever be placed into the eye without guidance from an eye care professional.

Only buy lenses from a licensed distributor that you can guarantee sells products approved by the FDA. Non-corrective lenses must also be regulated and require a proper prescription. Steer clear of websites, flea markets or beauty supply stores that may carry homemade products made with unapproved tinting agents. To determine if the store is authorized to sell contacts find out the state license number and call the state Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) to check.

If your Halloween disguise just won’t be the same without special effect contact lenses, consult with your local eye care professional to discuss your options. Don’t let Halloween be a “Hallowed” night for your eyes. Be knowledgable about the dangers unregulated contact use can be to your eyes.