Scary-looking costume contact lenses may elevate your Halloween’s fright factor but wearing them without a prescription can result in something far more terrifying – eye damage or blindness.
It is illegal to sell non-prescription contact lenses, but they can still be easily purchased at places such as beauty supply stores, costume shops, and the Internet. Falsely advertised as “one-size-fits-all” or “no prescription necessary,” costume contact lenses can cause serious, and permanent damage.
The doctors at Florida Eye Institute remind costume planners of five frightening consequences of wearing non-prescriptive contact lenses:
- Scratches to the eye – when contacts are not professionally fitted to your eye, they can scratch the clear front, ‘window’ of the eye. This is called a corneal abrasion, which is not only painful but can cause permanent damage. Treatment often involves medication and patching. Sometimes, damage cannot be reversed and results in corneal scarring, vision loss, and eyelid damage.
- Infection – Research shows wearing non-prescription contact lenses increases the risk of keratitis infection by 16 times. Early treatment with antibiotic or steroid drops may preserve vision, but sometimes surgery, such as corneal transplantation, is necessary.
- Pink eye – Non-sterile contact lenses can spread germs, causing conditions such as pink eye. Highly contagious, pink eye treatment often includes antibiotic eye drops.
- Decreased vision – Whether from a corneal scratch or infection, wearing non-prescription contacts can lead to decreased vision.
- Blindness – It’s no scare tactic: wearing non-prescription contacts can lead to permanent vision loss. Learn how to take proper care of your contact lenses to avoid dangerous eye infections.
“It’s just not worth it,” says Karen Todd, MD, Board Certified Ophthalmologist at Florida Eye Institute in Vero Beach, Florida. “Wearing costume lenses is not worth losing your eyesight or damaging your cornea. If you must have contact lenses for any reason, do not buy over-the-counter lenses, get them from an eye care professional!”
Looking for a Good Eye Doctor?
Florida Eye Institute specializes in the advanced treatment of retina, cataract, glaucoma, and corneal eye disease. You’ll also find complete eye care including designer eyewear and the latest laser vision correction procedures.
Florida Eye Institute has locations in Vero Beach and Sebastian. Medicare and most health insurance are accepted. For more information call 772.500.2020 or visit www.fleye.com.