Don't let spooky contact lenses morph into a Halloween nightmare
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Don't let spooky contact lenses morph into a Halloween nightmare
Woman with Halloween scary makeup and costume.
Joe Wende
Senior Medical Director

The tricks, tips and treats you should know



Do you have your Halloween costume picked out? Maybe you’re dressing as a vampire, a zombie or a werewolf. Whatever your choice, you’ve probably thought long and hard about getting the makeup, the wig and the clothing just right for a night of fright.



You might even be considering upping your game by adding costume contact lenses. But before you do, take a moment to get the facts so a temporary look doesn’t lead to permanent problems in the blink of an eye. Here’s what you need to know to protect your vision and how your vision benefits can help employees safely dress up their eyes with a pop of color for Halloween, or any time of the year.



The tricks


The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) cautions against wearing costume contact lenses without a prescription. The AAO defines costume contact lenses – also known as cosmetic or decorative contact lenses – as any type of contact lenses that are meant to change the appearance of your eyes. They include colored contacts, fashion lenses and lenses that can make your eyes look like vampires, animals or other characters.



In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified all contact lenses as medical devices and required they be sold only by licensed eyecare professionals. Nevertheless, lenses still can be purchased without a prescription online and in convenience stores. (1)



Don’t let easy access fool you, though. The problems associated with non-prescription lenses are anything but convenient. Have a look at the AAO’s list of possible issues they can cause:



Scratches: Over-the-counter lenses aren’t properly fitted, so they can scrape the outer layer of the wearer’s eye. As a result, corneal abrasions can lead to redness, light sensitivity, discharge and pain.


• Sores: Costume lenses can create corneal ulcers, which can appear as a white dot on the iris. Those ulcers can scar as they heal, affecting vision permanently.


• Infections: Corneal abrasions and ulcers make eyes more susceptible to penetration by bacteria, viruses and amoebas, all of which can lead to infections (keratitis). One study has shown that cosmetic contact lenses raised the incidence of keratitis by more than 16 times.


• Blindness: In some cases, costume contact lenses can create problems that necessitate surgery or even can cause blindness. (1 )


The tips


If you do opt for colored contact lenses, you can purchase them safely online from credible sources such as, and of course, they’re available through your eye doctor. Staying with one of these sources can help you be sure you’re getting FDA-approved contacts. Keep these tips from the FDA in mind (2) : 


Get an eye exam: This will ensure your lenses fit properly, preventing painful, dangerous scratches.


Get a prescription: Even for decorative lenses, a prescription assures you get the right brand and measurements and have an expiration date. Most prescriptions are valid for 1 or 2 years, depending on state law.


Follow the instructions: The instructions will help you wear, clean and disinfect your lenses safely and healthfully.


See a doctor if you have issues: Redness, pain or discharge signal you might have an infection, so seek medical attention immediately.


Keep your lenses to yourself: Don’t share your lenses. Yours are fitted for you and you alone. One size does not fit all! 


The treats


Fear not! It’s actually very easy for EyeMed members to enjoy colored contact lenses for Halloween or any time of year. Anyone can buy FDA-approved colored contacts, and EyeMed members can use their benefit on, in addition to getting special annual supply savings, free shipping and on-site promotional savings on the site. and both offer a wide selection of top brands such as Acuvue® and Air Optix®.  A user-friendly experience allows members to view their eligibility and available contact lens allowance. Prescription verification is easy, and orders ship free—typically the same day.



So, remember, it takes only a little extra preparation to treat your eyewear with as much care and attention to detail as you show the rest of your costume this Halloween. You can be the scariest ghoul or goblin at the party, with lenses that won’t leave you seeing red.



See more about EyeMed's online options  for members.








1)  Four Frightening Ways Costume Contact Lenses Can Ruin Your Vision, American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2014.
2) U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2016.



CATEGORY: Health & Wellness
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Don't let spooky contact lenses morph into a Halloween nightmare
Don't let spooky contact lenses morph into a Halloween nightmare