Alamo Optometry Blog

October 19, 2011

Halloween and Colored Contacts

Filed under: Uncategorized — gkblog @ 8:37 pm

Halloween and Colored Contacts

 (As appeared in Alamo Today, October 2011)

            Fall is now here and Halloween is just around the corner.  Since the local school district is not in session that day, we would like to invite you and your kids to come by the office in the afternoon after the Alamo Plaza festival for a little trick-or-treat at the office.  Your child is welcome to come by in costume to pick up a few goodies before the real trick-or-treating begins!

            It is during this time of the year that kids start thinking about their costumes for Halloween.  Depending on your child’s age and costume, some decide that colored and/or specialty contacts are to be a part of their disguise.  However, it is very important to understand that contact lenses that are not fit and prescribed by a doctor can be potentially visually threatening due to a corneal infection and other adverse conditions.

            As mandated by federal law, contact lenses are medical devices that need to be properly fit and assessed by an eye care professional.  All lenses do not fit and breathe the same.  In addition, just because you are currently wearing a particular type of lens, that does not mean that you can just wear and order any type of specialty lens.  If the lens does not fit and wear properly, there can be a lot of potential damage to the eye.  Conditions such as a corneal ulcer are very painful, cause light sensitivity, and cause the eye to become very red and teary.  Granted an infection like this can happen to anyone wearing contacts regardless of care, hygiene, and sleeping with the lenses on.  However, when the lens is not fitting properly, the likelihood of a bad outcome increases.  The other issue with specialty contacts is that if the patient is not familiar with proper care and handling, insertion and removal, and proper disinfection of the lenses, a mishap is more likely to occur.

            In addition to the above reasons, purchasing lenses from an outside vendor without proper prescription verification is against the law (this is also true for your normal everyday contact lenses).  Depending on the vendor, the specifications, material, quality, and sterility can not be verified.  Most of the brand name and mass-produced lenses purchased through a reputable store or vendor are usually not a problem.  It is the smaller and/or foreign companies that produce these specialty lenses for Halloween that can be an issue. 

            It is pretty rare that we see complications from contact lens wear because our patients are educated about proper contact lens care.  However, it is in times of non-compliance including sleeping with the lenses on and poorly fit lenses that these consequences arise.  It is our hope that for those that choose to wear these specialty contacts for Halloween does it the correct way and is able to add to their costume without any visual compromises.

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