Don't Let Halloween Fun Turn You as Blind as a Bat


| 4 Comments

It's almost that time of the year again!  Time to hang up the spiders, go pumpkin carving, and of course dress up as something ridiculously sexy...I mean scary.  Yes, I am talking about Halloween!  With all the parties and Halloween related events coming up within the month, many people are going to be trying on different costumes and make sure they have the best one. Using homemade outfits, make-up, and other enhancements everyone wants to make sure they look the scariest. But what people need to know is that some of these attempts to look frightening, have some scary side-effects.

 

One of the biggest enhancements people use during the holiday are cosmetic colored contacts.  Whether it is the spooky green to look like a cat, purple for a witch, bright red for the average vampire, bright blue like your favorite celebrity, or just to have weird swirls and other shapes in your eyes, using these "decorative contacts" is not uncommon.  However what many people do not know is that they are very harmful and can cause long-term damage.

 

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Although the selling of nonprescription, cosmetic lenses is illegal they are still very easy to obtain.  According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology "the sale of contact lenses has been restricted to eye-care professionals under federal law since 2005" 

 

Since they are personal items and used for enhancement of vision, it is not often known by many people, but contact lenses are considered "medical devices" and their safety and effectiveness is overseen by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  These non-prescription color contacts however are not approved by the FDA.  

 

Now you may want to know why. Approximately 38 million people in America wear contact lenses, so why is it that these specific kind are so seriously detrimental and have to be deemed as illegal?  The difference between corrective contact lenses and the lenses usually worn to make your eyes look creepy are that they are non-prescriptive lenses.  This means that these particular lenses are not fit to your eye nor do they meet any of problems you may have with your vision.  Therefore, many negative side-effects come from wearing these lenses, even if it is only for a couple hours.

 

For example, wearing these contacts can cause decreased vision or an allergic reaction and watering in the eyes.  Other risks listed by the FDA include infection and corneal abrasion.  Corneal Abrasion is when cornea is scratched or scraped.  If the damage is severe enough it can potentially lead to loss of vision or complete blindness.  

 

Another possible impairment that can come about from using costume contacts is a corneal ulcer.  These usually come about from dry eyes and are "an open sore on the cornea".  The problem with corneal ulcers is that the ulcer itself is not the worst of it.  These ulcers can possibly lead to bacterial keratitis, which is an infection in the cornea.  This infection develops rather quickly and has a possibility of leaving a scar even when healed.  

 

Also, because most of these lenses are purchased online, at flea markets, at fashion stores, or other non-reliable places they are subject to higher rates of infection.  For anyone who has actually gotten an eye exam for contact lenses, you know that they measure your eye and go through specific procedures to make sure the pieces of plastic you're putting into your eyes do not cause you discomfort. For example there are special lenses for people with astigmatism, which is a type of refractive error of the eye. The places that sell these cosmetic lenses are not as caring.  Because they are not approved and have not gone through any actual tests, these lenses are more likely to cause severe damage.

 

Hopefully this blog scared you out of risking your given sight for a couple hours of scaring your friends.  And although the non-prescription lenses can cause catastrophic problems, colored contact lenses that are made to fit your eye, and are approved by the FDA are completely acceptable.  So remember when you're out there this Halloween, be scary but also be safe!

 

4 Comments

I was actually going to get these for my costume this year! Thank you for the heads up. They are definitely not worth infecting my eyes. I find it interesting that they are illegal yet they are sold in Party City? They are extremely easy to obtain I typed in Colored Contacts into google and a ton of searches came up. It's as simple as ordering them off line or walking into your typical halloween costume store. I always felt like those places were sketchy.

I went through a phase of wearing these because I guess I wasn't secure enough in my appearance (HAHA)and I completely agree with the whole side effects things you pointed out like the blurred vision and the watering eyes part. It was so uncomfortable to wear them and my eyes were always bloodshot so I definitely didn't look as cute as I thought I did.

I am a pretty big sports fan and I have heard of athletes wearing colored contacts to enhance their vision. For example, baseball players wear them to pick up the baseball better. Here is an article I found online that talks about this a little more.

http://www.businessinsider.com/athletes-wear-colored-contacts-to-improve-performance-2013-9

Before even reading the post I saw the picture and was like I want some of these! THANKFULLY I did read the post and know not to go picking up any contacts from a sketchy halloween store now. Now that I think about it my sister has colored contacts but I think they are prescription ones.

Besides being used for making your eyes a different color, tinted contacts can be used to help treat Scotopic sensitivity syndrome which is when you have trouble reading things due to light. Obviously if this is a problem you should see a doctor but I thought it was something else interesting that colored contacts can be used for.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotopic_sensitivity_syndrome

This is a truly interesting post! I know that when I see people with piercing blue eyes, I am always jealous. While I don't know that I would go so far to get fake contacts, I can see why people are tempted. However, I also found that these can be dangerous as they are often not prescribed. The reasons why they are dangerous truly make sense and seem to be almost intuitive. I know I won't be getting these anymore!
http://www.ehbonline.org/article/S1090-5138(08)00079-2/abstract

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