Halloween is coming soon. It’s the time of year when we allow our imaginations to run wild and find ways to let out our inner child.

Trick or treating and Halloween have been a global tradition since the 16th century. But a trend that’s just a few years old are wearing colored contacts that can change a person’s eye color as part of Halloween costumes. They can change your eye color to anything you want – and even change the way your eyes look in general. You can have cat eyes, all white eyes, dilated pupils, and even sports team logos in the middle of your eye.

But are cosmetic contact lenses like these safe to use?

Since they are sold over the counter, many people don’t get instructions on how to use them safely. Contact lenses can cause serious damage without the proper care.

The human eyes are the cleanest part of the human body. They’re also very sensitive to dirt and other particles. This is why a simple speck of dust in your eye can drive you crazy. Over the counter lenses are sold in non-sterile cases that make the lens dirty. They could be covered in bacteria that you cannot see.

If cosmetic contact lenses are part of your Halloween costume this year, here are some tips on how to keep your eyes safe:

Image: Irritated Eyes
  • See an eye doctor and get a valid prescription

    Your optometrist can make sure your eyes are healthy for cosmetic contact lenses. There is no such thing as “one size fits all” lenses. An optometrist exams your eye to get the correct measurements for the lenses so that they cover only the corneas and aren’t too tight. This helps oxygen get to your eyes. That prevents the lenses from sticking to your eyes, bacteria from growing on your eyes, and even permanent scarring and scratching on your corneas.

     

  • Do not buy over the counter contact lenses

    Be wary of online retailers. Not only is it illegal to buy or sell contact lenses without a doctor’s prescription and the proper authorization. But over the counter lenses are sold in non-sterile cases that make them dirty. They could be covered in bacteria that you cannot see. Only purchase contact lenses from retailers and pharmacies that require a prescription.

  • Take care of your contact lenses and your eyes

    It’s important to follow proper care instructions to keep bacteria from growing on your lenses and entering your eye.

    Here are some quick tips:

    • Never sleep or nap while wearing contacts
    • Replace your contacts, contact case, and contact solution as often as is recommended
    • Do not shower/bathe while wearing contacts
    • Remember to change out old contact solution in your contact case for new solution; do not just top-off the case
  • Never wear circle contact lenses

    Circle, or “anime”, lenses have not been approved by the FDA and are illegal in the United States. Do NOT wear these at all. They go past the iris and cover parts of the cornea. This stops oxygen from reaching the eye. That can lead to bacterial growth, and result in extremely dry eyes, infection, scarring and even blindness.

    If you think you want to wear contacts this Halloween, schedule an eye exam with HealthPartners to make sure your eyes stay safe! Visit HealthPartners.com/eyecare or call 952-967-7611.