The Dangers of Decorative Contact Lenses

Woman putting on a contact lens

It’s hard to believe that Halloween is just around the corner!

Although trick-or-treating and Halloween get-togethers will most likely be paused this year, there’s no harm in still getting dressed up for the occasion. Halloween costumes are always fun, even during a pandemic!

If you decide to wear a costume this year, please keep the following tips in mind regarding decorative contact lenses.

What are they?

Decorative contact lenses are often referred to as:

  • Halloween contact lenses
  • Fashion contact lenses
  • Colored contact lenses
  • Cosmetic contact lenses

Even though they’re decorative, you should always have a prescription for contact lenses. More importantly, you should never purchase contact lenses from anyone besides an eye care professional, such as street vendors, beauty supply stores, flea markets, novelty stores, Halloween stores, or unknown online distributors.

What can happen if I wear decorative contact lenses?

The risks of decorative contact lenses include:

  • A cut or scratch on the top layer of your eyeball, also known as a corneal abrasion
  • Allergic reactions such as itchy, watery red eyes
  • Infection – symptoms of infection can include redness, pain in the eye(s) that persists, or decreased vision
  • Blindness

How to safely wear decorative contact lenses

To safely wear decorative contact lenses, follow these guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO):

  • Get an eye exam from a licensed eye care professional 
  • Obtain a valid prescription 
    • A valid prescription includes the brand name, lens measurements, and expiration date
  • Only purchase decorative contact lenses from a retailer who asks for a prescription
  • Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses
  • Get follow-up exams as directed with your eye care provider

Please note: If you notice redness, swelling, discharge, pain, or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses immediately and seek medical attention from an eye care provider. 

It might be a spooky time of year, but that doesn’t mean that staying on top of your eye health has to be frightening. It’s important to take care of your vision all year round. Schedule your annual eye exam, even if you don’t wear glasses or contact lenses. 


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