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October 28, 2013

Costume contact lenses can damage your eyes

Non-prescription cosmetic contact lenses may lend a spooky finish to your Halloween costume, but they can cause even scarier injuries to your vision.

Wearing cosmetic contact lenses might seem like a nice way to finish off a good Halloween costume, but they can cause serious eye injury, according to an association of ophthalmologists.

Non-prescription contacts have been illegal since 2005 because they are considered medical devices, but they are still available in some stores and online, and customers seek them to augment holiday outfits.

Wearing them can result in permanent vision loss, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. They may not be manufactured to meet federal health and safety standards, the group says, and may cause cuts and sores in the protective layer of the iris and pupil or cause bacterial infections. That could necessitate surgery or lead to vision loss.

“What happens to people’s eyes after just one evening of wearing non-prescription costume contact lenses is tragic,” said Dr. Thomas Steinemann, professor of ophthalmology at MetroHealth Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The statement from Steinemann continued: “It all could have been avoided if these patients just took a little extra time to obtain a prescription and only wore FDA-approved lenses. I understand how tempting it is to dress up your eyes on Halloween without a prescription and using over-the-counter lenses, but people should not let one night of fun ruin their vision for a lifetime.”

For more information, go to geteyesmart.org.

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