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Decorative contacts may cause permanent eye damage

With Halloween just a few weeks away, many Tennessee residents are planning out their family's costumes. Maybe this year the theme is to be as scary as possible, dripping fake blood everywhere? Or maybe the parents just hang back in regular clothes while the children dress up as their favorite movie characters going door-to-door collecting candy? Whatever the costume is though, parents and young adults should always put safety first when picking out what to wear.

This warning of safety brings up the fact that just because an item is sold on store shelves or online, it does not mean the product is safe. Rather, there are plenty of dangerous or defective products that end up being sold not only around Halloween time, but all throughout the year.

Right now though, with one of the largest dress-up days right around the corner, optometrist Jeff Sarazen is warning people not to put colored or decorative contact lenses in their eyes without first having an eye exam and getting a prescription.

According to Sarazen, decorative or colored contact lenses sold without a prescription can lead to serious infections and ulcers. These corneal ulcers can lead to a scar causing a permanent blind spot.

The issue is the contacts may not fit properly or the wearer may not know how to properly care for the lenses. This only ups the risk of getting a corneal ulcer.

Additionally, Sarazen said, off-brand contacts may be defective with rips or small tears in them. These can cause damage to the eye.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, contact lenses -- even the decorative ones -- are medical devices. Technically, this should mean the lenses cannot be legally sold without a prescription. However, many have found these lenses can easily be purchased online.

In the end, the advice is to spend the extra money going to an optometrist to get colored or decorative lenses. While the lenses may end up costing more than buying them online, the chances of permanent injury greatly declines.


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