Rx Optical Blog Image Cosmetic Contacts 10.15.19

Cosmetic Contact Lenses and Your Eyes

Novelty cosmetic contact lenses seem to be all the rage around Halloween. Our team wants to make sure you have a safe holiday, no matter what you’re dressing as.

While these contact lenses might seem like a fun accessory for your costume, they can also hurt your vision.

In the spirit of a safe and fun Halloween, check out this quick FAQ about novelty cosmetic contact lenses, and learn how you can keep your vision safe this year.

Why do you need a prescription?

Did you know that in the United States, you have to have a prescription to order contact lenses? It’s illegal for a company to sell contacts to you unless you show them proof that you have a prescription from an eye doctor. That’s because the federal government classifies all contact lenses as medical devices, not just as accessories.

That means they have to be distributed by a licensed professional. So even if you just plan to use cosmetic or colored contacts for one night, you need a prescription from an eye care professional to purchase them.

This regulation ensures that there is oversight on novelty lenses. Without it, you’d be able to pick up lenses from anywhere, and that’s not safe at all.

What if you have 20-20 vision?

The prescription requirement might seem silly if you aren’t intending to purchase contacts for improved vision, but it’s more important than you think. That’s because there’s more to contacts than just clear vision. You have to think of safety.

Illegally sold lenses lack regulation, meaning they may not meet FDA standards. Those standards include a lack of sterilization or incorrect packaging, which can lead to huge problems for your vision. Non-prescription cosmetic lenses could even cut, scratch or infect your eye, which could result in permanent eye damage.

If you try to purchase contact lenses and you aren’t asked for proof of prescription, turn back! We know that the contacts might look cool, but the risks aren’t worth it at all!

Even if you do everything right, your eyes might still be irritated by the foreign object. In that case, remove the contacts immediately, call your eye doctor, and try some of these tricks for irritated and red eyes while you wait.

What about the fit?

If you get contacts that are made to fit your prescription, you are in good hands. When contacts are made to fit your prescription, that includes more than just the right power. Your contacts also fit the size and shape of your eye and are even made out of a material that suits you best.

Think of contact lenses like a pair of shoes. If they are too big or too small, the shoes cut into your heels and leave your feet irritated and uncomfortable. Contact lenses are similar, so they have to be the right fit for your eye.

Bonus tip: If you purchase cosmetic contact lenses with a prescription for a costume, be sure to still follow the standard rules of contact lens safety. Wash your hands before you apply your lenses and be sure to take them out before you go to bed. While you’re at it, remove all of your costume makeup before you hit the hay, too. Your eyes will thank you in the morning!

If you want colored or cosmetic contacts, visit an eye care professional like us for a prescription and an eye exam. Cosmetic contacts can be a fun way to add additional flare to your costume, as long as you acquire and wear them safely.