Practicing Eye Safety, And Enjoying Halloween 2023

Color Contact Lenses, Halloween, And The Risks

It seems as if Halloween 2022 was just recently. Here we are again, and Halloween 2023 is just weeks away. A CBS News report earlier this year highlighted that emergency room visits increased around Halloween due to color contact lenses. Wearing non-prescription contact lenses to change the color or shape of the eye can be dangerous and lead to eye infections and scratched corneas, ultimately causing blindness. The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns the public to be aware of the potential risks associated with wearing costume contact lenses, which are sold illegally as cosmetic accessories and may not be sterile.

During Halloween, it is imperative to optimum eye safety while enjoying the event. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is urging the public to be aware of the potential risks associated with wearing costume contact lenses. These non-prescription lenses, sold illegally as cosmetic accessories, can pose a serious danger to eye health. They may not be sterile and can cause various problems, such as eye infections and scratched corneas, which can ultimately lead to blindness. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the hazards of wearing such lenses, as a seemingly harmless Halloween accessory can end up turning into a nightmare.

Untested and uncertified color contact lenses, if worn, can pose serious risks, like minor irritations, severe eye infections, and even potential vision loss. It is important to note that children’s colored costume contact lenses must be properly fitted by a licensed eye doctor is trained to do. If not there is the potential for eye infections, scratched corneas, and even blindness linked to colored costume contact lenses. There is no recommended set age at which doctors recommend allowing children to wear colored contacts. it is a decision between the parent and the child. The FDA classifies all contact lenses as medical devices, and they have approved colored contact lenses for Halloween. Therefore, by law, it is illegal to sell any contact lenses without a prescription in the United States. During Halloween, an individual can purchase color contact lenses online, in novelty shops, beauty salons, and in Halloween stores. It is important to note that any contact lenses sold without a prescription are breaking the law and carry a fine for violating the law.

Colored Contact Lenses

It is important to remember that there are no exceptions to the law when it comes to contact lenses. Even if you have perfect vision, you must visit an eye care professional to get an eye exam and prescription before you can use contact lenses. This is also applicable to color contact lenses for Halloween. A proper examination guarantees that the lens fits well and is the right fit for your eye. Poorly fitting lenses can be difficult to put on and take off and can cause serious harm.

However, many retailers are violating the law. In the U.S., since 2005, it has been illegal to sell contact lenses without a prescription. The federal law classifies all contact lenses as medical devices and restricts their distribution to licensed eye care professionals. The illegal sale of contact lenses can lead to civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation. If you see or believe that a retailer is selling contact lenses without a prescription, contact the FDA and report the retailer.

Illegally Sold Contact Lenses And The Consequences (American Academy of Ophthalmology)

  • Illegally sold circle lenses bypass several crucial safeguards
  • No instructions and training on lens fitting, wear, and care that is specific to you, your eyes, and the contacts you are prescribed.
  • Counterfeit lenses are common if you’re buying through an illegal outlet
  • Some illegal lenses have even been found to be re-packaged and can be contaminated with chemicals or germs when you receive them.
  • If the retailer or seller is not approved/regulated by the FDA there is no guarantee that the lenses meet the FDA quality requirements; not clear, fit properly, and are the correct size, or shape for your eyes.

Risks Associated With Colored Contact 

  • Increase the odds of eye and corneal infections
  • Scratches on the cornea
  • Infection
  • Pink Eye
  • Possible allergic reactions
  • Vision impairment
  • Potential blindness
  • It can slide around on the eye and can impair vision

Tips To Help You With Reducing The Risk Associated With Wear Colored Costume Contact Lenses (American Academy of Ophthalmology)

  • Get an eye exam from an eye care professional such as an ophthalmologist, or an eye medical doctor who will measure each eye and talk to you about proper contact lens care
  • Obtain a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and expiration date.
  • Purchase the colored contact lenses from a retailer who asks for a prescription
  • Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses
  • Never share contact lenses with another person.
  • Get follow-up exams as directed by your eye care provider.

Contact our office if you experience issues like redness, swelling, excessive discharge, pain, or discomfort due to contact lenses you must remove them immediately and contact your ophthalmologist immediately. This is important because eye infections can become serious in a short period and the impact may be irreversible.


Dr. Lori Landrio, Optometrist
2469 Merrick Road
Bellmore, NY 11710

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