WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA)-- On Halloween, we get a free-pass to change our look and make ourselves unrecognizable. Some pump-up the dramatics with wigs, masks and even decorative contact lenses in creepy colors and designs to make themselves unrecognizable. But this Halloween season, it is important to know that- if not used properly- these eye-popping lenses can be scary to your health.
Cases of decorative-contacts-gone-wrong have been shown to result in scratches on the cornea, deteriorated eyesight, corneal infections, pink eye and even blindness. If you experience any discomfort or abnormalities, seek doctor care immediately. But, doctors say that these lenses can be worn safely by a responsible user.
"The problem isn't with the decorative contacts themselves...It's the way people use them improperly-without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care," says FDA optometrist Bernard Lepri, O.D., in an FDA newsletter.
Michael Repka, MD of Johns Hopkins University says, "Many of the unsafe lenses come through online, or perhaps at service stations, gas stations, beauty shops or other similar places."
If you do choose to experiment with crazy colored eyes this Halloween, seeing your eye doctor for a fitting and a prescription is a MUST. The colored lenses sold at Halloween stores are not suitable for everybody and must be obtained by an eye doctor.
Once you have the FDA-approved prescription contacts from your eye doctor, practicing proper care is key to avoid any eye problems. The lenses must be cleaned and disinfected daily, and they should never be worn at night. Late-night Halloween parties are no exception-take your lenses out before going to bed. Additionally, as with normal contact lenses, never share your contacts with another person.
You don't need to wear contacts or glasses on a daily basis to obtain a prescription for decorative lenses, because they are available with and without powerful lenses. How it works is, the lens' opaque layer completely covers the iris, except for a circle that leaves the pupil uncovered. And some decorative contacts cover the whole eye, including the sclera (the white part of your eye).