Thursday, October 29, 2015

costume contact lenses

After reading this news story about a teen's experience with costume contact lenses that were purchased without a prescription, I thought it would be a good time to review a few tips to minimize the risk associated with decorative contact lens wear. If this sounds familiar, it might be because you read last year's riveting blog post on the same topic.  
  1. Get a contact lens exam, fitting, and prescription from a licensed eye doctor. This applies even if the lenses do not correct your vision.  A valid prescription specifies the brand of contact lens and the fitting parameters of that lens.  Contact lenses are NOT one-size-fits-all.    
  2. Purchase contact lenses from a reputable source that is authorized to sell contact lenses (ie: not beauty shops, flea markets, costume stores, etc).  A vendor is required by law to request a current, valid prescription before selling a consumer contact lenses.  It is best to purchase your lenses through your eye doctor's office. 
  3. Follow the contact lens care instructions given to you by your eye doctor.
  4. Remove lenses and see your optometrist immediately if you notice any eye redness, discharge, pain, or decreased vision.  Infections related to contact lens wear can be potentially blinding!
I had a few patients this year request costume contact lenses for Halloween, and I'm sharing their photos below (with permission).  I ordered the lenses from a reputable contact lens manufacturer, and the patients came in for a contact lens fitting in order for me to evaluate the lenses on their eyes and discuss proper contact lens care.

(Side note: These lenses obviously reduce your peripheral vision and shouldn't be worn when driving.)

CliffsNotes: ALL contact lenses are classified as medical devices by the FDA.  It is unsafe to buy and wear contact lenses without a valid prescription and thorough evaluation from a licensed eye doctor!