Commentary by Dr. Jeremy Ciano
It’s Halloween season again – time to get out the Jack-O-lanterns, haystacks and skeletons! It is also costume season, and with that comes multiple requests for specialty “spooky” contact lenses.
Contact lenses, by definition, are FDA-approved medical devices. They have specific requirements to ensure proper oxygen flow to the eye as well as specific fitting conditions to ensure sizing, movement and health. Unfortunately, there are also lots of non-FDA approved gimmicky/cosmetic lenses that are available on the internet or at your local costume megastore.
It should be obvious that with any medical device you can buy at a convenience store, caution must be taken. However, we routinely see patients at the beginning of November with serious eye problems, having dressed up in these gimmicky accessories. Our advice, of course, is to ask your eye doctor about the safety, health and wearability of FDA-approved colorful lenses. Single use, daily disposable lenses with colors that are healthy and safe are available.
While we are on the topic of contact-lens safety, here are a few other reminders that, believe it or not, we share on a regular basis:
- Don’t share your contact lenses with others! We see patients all the time who come in wearing their spouse’s contacts. You wouldn’t wear their shoes or underpants, but you put a medical device in your eye that is prescribed for someone else?
- Cleaning your contacts in your mouth is an absolute no-no. Seriously – stop it!
- Storing your contacts in tap water overnight may be the single most high-risk thing you can do. Pseudomonas infections from this “trick” are very high and can have devastating, permanent outcomes.
This holiday season, be smart with your contacts. Wash your hands, change them regularly and don’t buy costume contacts at the gas station!