AAO & FDA Warn About the Risks of Wearing Costume Contact Lenses for Halloween Improperly or Without a Prespription

Recent announcements by the Food & Drug Administration and American Academy of Ophthalmology advise that wearing the popular costume accessories without a prescription can lead to serious eye and injuries and permanent vision loss.

 In addition to the warning issued by the FDA, the American Academy of Ophthalmology warns some Halloween revelers may be taking an unnecessary risk with their vision by wearing costume contact lenses improperly or without a prescription

To safely wear decorative contact lenses this Halloween or any time of year, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends following these guidelines:

  • Only buy decorative contact lenses from an eye care professional such as an ophthalmologist or a retailer that requires a prescription and sells FDA-approved products.
  • If you don't already have a contact lens prescription, obtain a valid prescription and eye exam from an ophthalmologist or optometrist, a health care professional who provides primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment and management of vision changes.
  • Even for those with perfect vision, an eye exam and prescription are mandatory in order to fit the right size contacts. Do not fall victim to false advertising claims and lenses labeled as "one size fits all" or "no need to see an eye specialist."
  • Follow the directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses. Contacts that are left in for too long or that are not properly cleaned and disinfected can significantly increase the risk of an eye infection.
  • Never share contact lenses with another person or wear expired lenses.
  • If you notice redness, swelling, excessive discharge, pain or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses and seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist. Eye infections like keratitis can quickly become serious and cause blindness if left untreated.

For more on the dangers of decorative lenses and the warning issued by the FDA, please read this article from the Los Angeles TImes.