Be Spooky, Not Dangerous: Halloween Contact Lens Safety

It’s almost Halloween and time to plan your costume. One fun addition to Halloween costumes are colored contact lenses. Colored contact lenses as part of a Halloween costume might seem like a fun addition to the costume’s overall look, but contact lenses worn for cosmetic purposes pose a threat to your eye health and vision if not properly fitted. Poorly fitting contact lenses can lead to serious concerns such as scratches on the cornea, corneal infection, pink eye, decreased vision or even blindness.

Courtesy of Bryan Thompson on Flickr

Courtesy of Bryan Thompson on Flickr

Almost one million visits for microbial keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) or contact lens complications occur annually. The single greatest risk factor for microbial keratitis is contact lens wear. Because the FDA classifies contact lenses as “medical devices,” they should only be prescribed by a doctor of optometry. There is fantastic new technology this year in the area of colored contact lenses. Set up an appointment today with your doctor of optometry to be fit in contact lenses in your favorite design and color.

Tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Published August 21, 2015

Contact lens habits and hygiene

  • Never sleep in contact lenses unless advised to do so by an eye care provider.
  • Keep all water away from contact lenses. Avoid showering while wearing contact lenses, remove them before using a hot tub or swimming, and never rinse or store contact lenses in water.

Contact lenses and supplies

  • Replace contact lenses as often as recommended by an eye care provider.
  • Discard used solution from the contact lens case and clean it with fresh solution, never water, every day. Store contact lens case upside down with the caps off after each use.
  • Replace the contact lens case at least once every 3 months.

Eye care provider involvement

  • Visit an eye care provider as often as recommended by your primary health care provider.
  • Remove contact lenses immediately and call an eye care provider if you are experiencing eye pain, discomfort, redness, or blurred vision.

Be prepared

  • Carry a backup pair of glasses with a current prescription in case contact lenses need to be removed.

Additional information about healthy contact lens wear and care is available on the CDC website.

~Melissa Barnett, OD, FAAO, FSLS
California Optometric Association

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