Decorative or colored contact lenses: What you should know before buying them

LANSING MI (WLNS) – They look cool, can change the color of your eyes, or enhance any Halloween costume.

We’re talking about decorative contact lenses and what you should know before buying them.

With Halloween just days away, buying a pair could serve as the ultimate accessory for a costume, but it’s all about where you get them.

It’s a decision that may save you a trip to the Emergency Room or cost you your vision.

Decorative contact lenses are not considered to be cosmetics sold over the counter; they are medical devices, regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It turns out; places that advertise or sell them without a prescription are breaking the law.

And if you buy them from somewhere other than an eye doctor’s office, you could potentially damage your eye.

Something eye doctors see more of around Halloween.

“We occasionally treat eye infections related to poorly fitting contact lenses and especially these decorative lenses that are bought through ulterior sources,” Dr. Sam Estes, Optometrist from Optometrists of Lansing said. “We don’t know what they’re made out of or what they’re soaking in, or most importantly, they’re not fitting properly.”

They’ve been in the market for a while now, contact lenses that come in all different colors, designs, and themes.

For under $30, you can change the appearance of your eye to look green and lizard-like.

But, it’s not the color or design that could cause problems; it’s where you buy them from that can cost you.

“Some contact lenses are being sold illegally; flea markets, and convenient stores and beauty parlors and on the internet,” Dr. Estes said.

Contacts aren’t made to be one size fits all, in order to wear them properly, always get your eyes examined by an Optometrist who will measure your eyes to find the best fitting lenses for you, and also evaluate how your eye will respond to them.

“A contact lens prescription, there’s more to it than just the power. There’s a diameter and there’s a curve, the shape of the front of your eye is different than the shape of the front of my eye,” Dr. Estes said.

Not taking these steps could lead to serious eye damage including decreased vision, scratches on the cornea, or a corneal infection.

“And worst case scenario you can actually go blind,” Estes said.

The best and legal way to buy decorative contacts is to get them from a licensed eye doctor.

Never buy them from street vendors, Halloween stores, or internet sites online, unless the site requires a prescription.

Some tips to keep in mind, especially with Halloween a few days away.

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