For those with a penchant for the paranormal, the urge to go next-level creepy with their Halloween costume is an irresistible force. After all, once you’ve spent hours replicating the ravages of zombie rot, what could be spookier than giving your eyes the milky-blue stare of the undead?
But there could be scary consequences from the novelty contact lenses you use to achieve the effect. While a feline’s slit pupils or gnarly red demonic irises might provide your party companions a delicious gross-out moment, that moment could cost you long after your costume is retired.
Eyes are delicate, so putting anything directly onto or into them that isn’t approved by your ophthalmologist is a risky endeavor. Lots of things could go wrong, but we’ll discuss the most common complications from non-prescription novelty contacts here:
- Infections. Prescription contact lenses are produced under tight quality controls and to high standards of sterility. Such may very well not be the case with novelty lenses, which are relatively easy to get, cheap to produce and a big money-maker for unscrupulous vendors. The lack of FDA oversight and the cost associated with sterilization means your bargain lenses may have passed through an extremely relaxed (read “lax”) quality control process.
- Abrasions. Cheaply made costume lenses are not fitted to your unique eyes. So, if you have a misshapen cornea, your one-size-fits-all novelty contact will not fit correctly. It could be too tight or too loose on your eyeball, resulting in squeezing or slippage that could scratch the cornea.
- Edema. Edema is a buildup of fluid in the cornea that can result from the aforementioned infection or injury. It is a painful situation, and one that could have you looking more like the undead than you would like, even after the Halloween festivities are a distant memory.
- Allergies. In addition to contaminants that cause infection, unregulated, non-prescription lenses could be coated with substances to which you’re allergic. That could mean eye damage from rubbing or edema from an allergic reaction.
- Poor vision. Novelty lenses are definitely not made to correct eyesight! In fact, creepy contacts that include unusual colors, cloudy effects or odd pupils can block light from entering your eyes or even distort your vision. If you’re lucky, the obstructed vision is only temporary and you’ll get back normal eyesight once you remove the lenses.
- Blindness. A bad reaction to poorly made novelty contacts can, in some cases, result in severe, permanent damage to the eyes. No costume—no matter how epic—is worth that kind of risk.
Under no circumstances should you put anything into your eye that you bought from an anonymous vendor online or from a costume shop. If you simply must have special effect eyewear for your costume, get a prescription from an eye doctor or ask for a referral to an authorized and reputable source.
Follow these tips and enjoy a fun-filled, spooky and most importantly safe Halloween!
Lake Lazer Eye Center offers convenient and affordable payment plans for SoftTouch LASIK and the ZEISS SMILE procedure, and Dr. Khambati has helped thousands of people from all over the world escape the restrictions of glasses and contacts. In the event that you’re not a candidate for vision correction, we’ll assist you with a contact lens evaluation or a selection of designer and specialty eyewear.