Contact Lens Exam at Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates
Changing the look of your eyes with the help of decorative contact lenses can take your Halloween costume to the next level. But did you know that purchasing these lenses without a prescription from an eye doctor can actually pose serious harm to your eyes and eyesight?
Keep your eyes healthy this Halloween by asking our eye doctors about the safest way to obtain and wear colored or cosmetic contact lenses.
How Can Decorative Contact Lenses Harm Your Eyes?
Because decorative contact lenses usually don’t correct vision, many consumers believe that it’s fine to purchase them without a prescription, online, from a street vendor, or beauty supply store. The truth is that decorative contact lenses can increase your risk of serious eye disease.
While few eye doctors stock decorative lenses, your eye doctor can provide you with a contact lens prescription based on an examination and fitting, as well as instructions on how to care for them in a safe, hygienic way. Never order lenses unless they conform to an optometrist’s prescription.
Some of the risks of decorative lenses include:
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Allergic reaction (red, watery eyes)
- Corneal abrasion (a cut or scratch on the eye’s surface)
- Permanent changes to vision
Decorative contact lenses are often made by unlicensed manufacturers that tend to use lesser-quality or toxic materials such as lead (often used in lens coloring), which can get absorbed through the eyes into the bloodstream. They also may contain high levels of bacteria from unsanitary packaging, shipping, and storage conditions. We think that’s a reason to be spooked!
Furthermore, wearing decorative contacts without a proper fitting by an optometrist can lead to a permanently damaged or scarred cornea. The feeling of dryness that sometimes accompanies wearing these contacts often means they fit poorly and are scratching the cornea.
Even if you don't need vision correction but still want to wear decorative contact lenses, make an appointment with our eye doctors for a comprehensive eye exam and contact lens fitting to avoid potential eye damage.
Checklist for Decorative Contact Lens Wearers
- Make sure to undergo a comprehensive eye exam by an eye doctor, who will measure your eyes and provide a thorough fitting of the contacts.
- Obtain a valid prescription that includes all relevant information, like the contacts’ parameters, expiration date, and brand name.
- Ensure the contact lenses you’ve ordered match the prescription in every detail.
- Always purchase decorative contact lenses from a reliable retailer (tip: reliable retailers should demand a prescription.)
- Carefully follow the hygiene instructions for cleaning, inserting, removing, and storing lenses laid out by your eye doctor.
- Make sure to undergo a follow-up eye exam as directed by your eye care professional.
- Never share contact lenses with anyone else.
By following these guidelines for safe contact lens use, you’ll be able to enjoy your Halloween without the worry or discomfort of an eye infection or damaged cornea. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates or visit our Chicago office.