Are Halloween contact lenses dangerous? Depends. This is the one question that I always get asked before Halloween.

If you’re wearing prescription or non-prescription contact lenses that are fitted by an eye care professional, your fitter will take measurements and adjust the prescription to make the contact lenses sit on your eye comfortably.  Part of the fitting will be choosing the right contact lenses for you and educating you on the wear and maintenance of your lenses.  The contact lenses will always include the prescription (indicating plano for zero correction, or show the correction requested), a base curve and diameter that will contour your eyes and give you a proper fit.

If you’re getting ready for Halloween, sometimes it’s nice to have contact lenses on so people can get the full effect of your eye makeup.

If you’re looking to get contact lenses not prescribed and not fitted by your eye care professional, such as costume contact lenses (sometimes called decorative, coloured, or cosmetic contact lenses), you’re putting your eyes in serious health risks of infection, scars and possibly permanent vision reduction or blindness.   These  lenses are frequently sold as a “one size fits all” and are not the way our eyes are.  You may experience inflammation, redness, some discharge, possibly some pain/discomfort or light sensitivity.

Health Canada began regulating and licensing costume contact lenses back in 2016 for the safety of the consumer.  They must be licensed by Health Canada before they are sold. Contact lenses that are not regulated are being sold illegally. You can safely buy your costume contact lenses from an eye care professional.  You should never buy costume contact lenses from costume or novelty stores, beauty supply retailers, pharmacies, flea markets or online stores.

People who wear any type of contact lenses should practice proper wear and care of their lenses so they avoid infection and other complications and doing so, can have a long life of successful contact lens wear.  The most frustrating part of being a contact lens fitter is having to tell someone that they will no longer be able to wear contact lenses because of the damage that was done to their eyes.

Tips for healthy contact lens wear:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before inserting or removing your lenses. Bacteria is really smart and they like to move around.
  • Never share contact lenses with others
  • Never sleep while wearing contact lenses unless they are extended wear contact lenses designed for that purpose
  • Rinse and store your contact lenses in a disinfecting solution. Never use water or saliva to clean or store them
  • Use fresh solution each time you store them. Never mix old solution with new solution
  • When you’re not using the storage case, discard the old solution and flip your case and the caps over so they dry (preventing unnecessary moisture and bacterial growth)

Your eyes are one of the most delicate and important parts of your body.  Be mindful of what you put on them and know that there may be consequences that linger long past October 31st.  Be safe with the choices you make.

For more information about this article, suggestions for future articles, or if you have questions about your family’s eye care, feel free to contact me at silvia@queenspectacle.com.

Silvia Yeomans is the owner of Queen Spectacle. Queen Spectacle has locations in Port Credit, Streetsville and The Kingsway. They are a full eye care team recognized for their service excellence. For more information, visit their website at www.queenspectacle.com