Non-prescription contact lenses may cause major problems

POSTED: Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 1:39pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

Ghosts, zombies and vampires; popular costumes for Halloween, but think twice if you plan on adding colored contacts. Because one night of fun, could end in a life-time of eye problems.


"We saw somebody who bought a pair recently, and on her first day of wearing them ended up with an infection in both eyes. It actually can turn into blindness in certain cases if it's not taken care of," Therapeutic Optometrist Dr. Clay Widmann said.

In fact, selling contact lenses without a doctors prescription is illegal.

"All contact lenses that are legally dispensed in the United States are FDA approved as a prescription device. So even if you don't have any power in the lens, any corrective power, you still have to have a prescription for the lens," Dr. Widmann said.

But doctors say most places who sell these illegal lenses for Halloween fly under the radar, like convenient stores and gas stations, and most people think they're harmless.

With so many colors and options, many times people want to share their contacts, but if they do, they'll be passing around more than just their lenses, because swapping contacts swaps bacteria, which can result in a serious eye infection.

But if you can't go without colored contacts for your costume, Dr. Widmann says to go to your ophthalmologist for an exam first and bring the contacts with you for inspection.

Otherwise, Dr. Widmann said, "I just wouldn't buy them."

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