Blinding and blasphemous, blood-red eyes and ghastly, glowing, gruesome peepers… Americans love Halloween…so much so that people will shop just about anywhere for “crazy contact” lens-wear purchased from Halloween novelty shops, beauty supply stores, gas stations and online outlets. But beware! Injuries including painful, scarred corneas, severe eye infections, permanently damaged vision and drooping eyelids have been reported as a consequence of wearing the specialty eyewear.
It is illegal to sell colored contact lenses without a prescription and retailers can be fined as much as $11,000 per violation. All contact lenses (including non-corrective cosmetic lenses) are controlled by the FDA under the heading of medical devices and require a prescription from a licensed optometrist, ophthalmologist or other licensed optician under the supervision of an eye doctor. The Food and Drug Administration along with ICE and the US Customs and Border Protection have launched a campaign called “Operation Double Vision” that has seized more than 20,000 pairs of counterfeit and decorative lenses illegally sold to the American public.
Contact wearers are required by law to be fitted by an eye health professional for size, shape, strength and type of material used in the lenses. Never buy lenses from a retailer that does not require a prescription for purchase. Contacts that are not properly fitted may scratch the eye or cause blood vessels to grow into the cornea.
Follow good health practices and seek annual professional eye care. Don’t trade a lifetime of poor vision for a single evening of ghostly fun!