In the spirit of Halloween, the Indiana Optometric Association (IOA) and IOA President Dr. Karon Nowakowski, Family Vision Care, Muncie, Indiana, are warning people about a real fright – damage from wearing un-prescribed decorative lenses. Decorative contact lenses allow patients to alter the appearance or color of their eyes. These non-corrective, decorative lenses – that are very popular during Halloween – can cause serious eye health issues and may even permanently damage your eyesight. According to the IOA, these lenses should only be acquired with a prescription from a doctor of optometry.
All contact lenses are classified as medical devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and require a valid prescription. Optometrists are growing increasingly concerned about how accessible decorative contact lenses are and the risks for patients who purchase them from unregulated sources, commonly found online or from a costume shop.
“Decorative contact lenses may seem like a fun accessory, but if you’re not careful, they can cause serious eye and vision problems,” said Dr. Nowakowski. “Unfortunately, many patients mistakenly believe they don’t need a prescription for decorative contact lenses. It’s extremely important that patients get an eye exam and only wear contact lenses, with or without vision correction, that are prescribed for and fitted to your eyes by a doctor of optometry.”
Purchasing decorative contact lenses without a prescription from questionable sources can result in bacterial infections, allergic reactions, or even significant damage to the eye’s ability to function, which could lead to irreversible sight loss.
With Halloween right around the corner, Dr. Nowakowski has compiled three tips to ensure eye health and safety are a priority: