Halloween Contact Lenses Can Be SCARY!
Ophthalmologists Warn of Five Frightening Risks of Wearing Contact Lenses Without a Prescription
Zombie or devil contact lenses may elevate a Halloween costumeâ€™s fright factor, but wearing them without a prescription could result in something far more
terrifying â€“ blindness. Bohn, Joseph and Swan Eye Center joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in urging Halloween shoppers to understand the risks of wearing over-the-counter contact lenses.
While it is illegal to sell non-prescription contact lenses, they can still be easily purchased at many places such as beauty supply stores, costume shops
and on the web. Falsely advertised as â€œone-size-fits-allâ€ or â€œno prescription necessary,â€ these lenses can cause serious eye damage. Last year,
one girl became partially blind in her left eye, the top layer of her cornea having been ripped off, after a mere four hours of wearing non-prescription
contact lenses she bought at a jewelry booth.
Ophthalmologists â€“ the physicians and surgeons that specialize in medical and surgical eye care â€“ are reminding people of five frightening consequences
of ignoring the warnings:
- 1.Scratches to the eye â€“ If contacts are not professionally fitted to your eye, they can scratch the clear front window of the eye.
This is called a corneal abrasion, which is not only
painful, but can cause permanent damage. Just ask Laura Butler, who
was in severe pain due to corneal abrasions 10 hours after putting in non-prescription lenses, which â€œstuck to my eye like suction cups.â€ Treatment
often involves medication and patching, but in some cases damage cannot be reversed. Butler now lives with a corneal scar, vision damage and a
- 2.Infection â€“ Research shows wearing non-prescription contacts increases the risk of an infection called keratitis by 16 times. Early treatment with antibiotic or steroid drops may preserve vision, but sometimes
surgery, such as corneal transplantation,
is necessary. Robyn Rouse had
to have that surgery after she got an infection after wearing non-prescription lenses she bought at a local store. Twelve years later, she still
has blurry vision in her left eye and uses daily drops to combat dry eye.
- 3.Pink eye â€“ Never share contacts because doing so can spread germs, causing conditions such as pink eye. Highly contagious, pink eye treatment depends on the cause, but typically includes antibiotic drops.
- 4.Decreased vision â€“ Whether from a corneal scratch or infection, wearing non-prescription contacts can lead to decreased vision.
- 5.Blindness â€“ Itâ€™s no scare tactic: wearing non-prescription contacts can lead to permanent vision loss. Julian Hamlin has had more than 10 surgeries and is now legally blind in his left eye after wearing contacts to change his
eye color, a mistake heâ€™ll live with forever.
The Academy encourages the public to watch and share its â€œNo Prescription, No Wayâ€ public service announcement that shows the serious damage that these non-prescription costume contact lenses can inflict on the eyes.
Visit the Academyâ€™s EyeSmartÂ® website to learn more about contact lens safety.
 Sauer, A., & Bourcier, T. 2011. Microbial keratitis as a foreseeable complication of cosmetic contact lenses: A prospective study. Acta Ophthalmologica
89 5, pp. e439-e422. DOI:10.1111/j.1755-3768.2011.02120.x