Maine Cornea Specialist on Contact Lenses for Halloween

Monday, October 21, 2013

Maine Cornea Specialist on Contact Lenses for Halloween

“The risk of cornea infection and vision threatening problems from improper decorative Halloween contact lenses is not trivial,” shared Cornea Specialist Ravi Shah, M.D. of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine. “Halloween, decorative contact lenses and your eyes may not be a great combination,” stated Dr. Shah. “Each year we see the result of patients thinking Halloween contact lenses are a simple part of a costume. It is quite entertaining to turn your eyes from blue to some other color or ghoulish look by using over-the-counter, decorative contact lenses. While this can be a good source of Halloween fun, it can also lead to serious vision-threatening problems,” explained Dr. Shah. “Even someone with perfect vision would still require an eye exam and a prescription in order to wear any kind of contacts, including cosmetic lenses.”

According to the Food and Drug Administration, all contact lenses are regulated medical devices that require a prescription and proper fitting by an eye-care professional. Some websites advertise decorative contacts as if they were fashion accessories or toys with fanciful, playful packaging in order to attract teens and young adults, especially girls. The problem is not that people use decorative, noncorrective lenses-sometimes called Plano-or zero-powered lenses, but that they buy the devices without a prescription through unlicensed vendors on the Internet or at flea markets and specialty shops.

The buyer of these over-the-counter contact lenses faces a huge risk including scratched corneas, pink eye and more serious types of blinding infection as a result of a corneal ulcer.

In 2005, a federal law was passed that classified all contact lenses as medical devices and restricted their distribution to licensed eye-care professionals. Illegal sale of contacts can result in civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation.

The safe and effective use of contact lenses-whether decorative or not-requires proper fitting and education about their care to prevent the potential for serious eye  problems from becoming a reality. If you or a friend would like to learn more about contact lenses of any type including decorative contacts please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.