Costume contact lenses, cosmetic, decorative, or theatre lenses – all kinds of names to describe contact lenses that change how your eyes look.
These lenses can come with or without vision correction and have become increasingly popular in recent years. They can change your eye colour or pupil shape, or even give film character effects.
This Halloween, zombies, demon nuns, ice walkers, and numerous other costumes will sport them. But how safe are they?
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We have combined advice from Specsavers and VisionDirect on how you can make sure your eyes stay safe and healthy.
What are the risks of costume contact lenses?
Like with any type of contact lenses, they will have to be properly fitted by an eye care professional.
Ordering some cheap, one-size-fits-all lenses on the Internet the day before your party could risk you an eye injury or infection. Some eye conditions you’d risk include:
- Decreased, or blurry vision
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Allergic reaction
- Scratches on the cornea
- Corneal swelling
- Eye ulcers
- Eye pain
- Blindness, in extreme cases
Tips for the safe wearing of costume contact lenses
Treat the process of buying and handling decorative lenses the same way you would treat normal contact lenses.
Get a prescription
You should visit your eye care professional and get your prescription updated, even if you have perfect vision. If your lenses are properly fitted, you will massively reduce the risk of scratching or injuring your cornea. And of course, you will be more comfortable while wearing them.
This is especially important if you have never worn contacts before.
Always buy from a reputable source
This includes both the supplier and manufacturer – purchase from a trusted vendor and go for an established brand.
This means that dubious websites, tattoo parlours, costume shops, market stalls and beauty shops are best avoided!
Don’t buy from places that don’t allow you to input your prescription.
And finally, look out for ‘CE’ marking on the packaging, which indicates the product follows health, safety and environmental protection standards.
Take proper care of your lenses
Make sure you follow any instructions on how to clean and store your decorative lenses and treat them with as much care as you would your regular contact lenses.
Avoid wearing them for extended periods of time., and take them out immediately if they feel uncomfortable or sore at any point.
Sleeping with your lenses on will not only give you puffy eyes in the morning, it also comes with the risk of more serious effects.
Never share your contact lenses – bacteria from your eyes that is mostly harmless for you could give the other person a serious eye infection.
If you are worried at any time, just pay a visit to your eye care professional. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t wear torn or damaged lenses, or wear them over your normal contact lenses.
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