The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that unapproved decorative contact lenses -- often worn as a costume accessory -- can “haunt” your eyes.
Decorative or fashion contacts are used to change the color or look of one’s eyes, for example, into twilight vampire or cat eyes.
“Although unauthorized use of decorative contact lenses is a concern year-round, Halloween is the time when people may be inclined to use them, perhaps as costume accessories,” says James Saviola, the Ophthalmic and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices network leader in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
Risks from improperly fitting and unsterile contacts include corneal ulcers, corneal abrasion, pink eye and vision impairment, says the FDA.
Problems occur when the non-corrective contact lenses are worn incorrectly, without a prescription and involvement of a eye-care professional.
The decorative contacts are considered medical devices -- not cosmetics -- and are regulated by the FDA. Although it is illegal to sell contact lenses over the counter, they are found in places like beauty salons and novelty stores, and on the Internet.
Decorative contacts “must be treated with the exact same level of concern and diligence as regular contact lenses. They are regular contact lenses. They're just decorated,” according to the National Eye Institute.
To get corrective lenses, the FDA recommends getting an eye-exam and a prescription before buying the lenses from an eye-care professional or a vendor who requires a prescription.