When you're looking to add a little extra something to a costume look, decorative or novelty contact lenses can seem like a great idea. They can be found at party shops and online for a great price anytime of the year and they come in a variety of colors and styles. Decorative lenses make it easy to transform yourself into a vampire, ghost, pop star or disco queen, but buyers should beware of the dangers associated with using these lenses.
Novelty Contacts Are No Laughing Matter
Many people who purchase these novelty or decorative contact lenses believe that because they were purchased without a prescription, they do not require the same care and consideration as standard contact lenses do. But optometrists warn that these types of lenses can be extremely dangerous. Because they are not fitted to your eye, you run the risk of doing serious damage to your vision each time you wear them.
In fact, most decorative contact lenses are not FDA approved and are illegal to sell in the United States without a prescription. All contact lenses should be treated as medical devices and require proper fitting from your optometrist before you wear them.
What Type of Medical Damage Can Decorative Lenses Cause?
Non-prescription contact lenses can cause cuts and sores to develop on the part of your eye that protects your cornea and pupil. These abrasions can become infected and lead to serious bacterial infections in the eye. If not treated in time, these infections can lead to the need for eye surgery to repair the damage and restore your vision. In some cases, they have even been known to cause permanent vision loss.
Make a Safe Investment in Prescription Lenses
Luckily, there are safe ways to use decorative contacts. Before you buy, be sure to get an eye exam from an optometrist, like the ones at South Jersey Eye Physicians, and ask if they offer decorative contact lenses at their office. Even if you have perfect vision, you'll need to get an eye exam before you can wear contact lenses safely and comfortably.
Purchase decorative contact lenses directly from your optometrist or from a retailer that asks for a prescription before they can finalize your sale. It is also important that you follow proper care and cleaning guidelines when using contact lenses. Never share your colored contacts with anyone else and see your optometrist if you experience any swelling or irritation after wearing your new decorative lenses.