Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Contact Lenses

Hello everyone,

Halloween is approaching. For some, it's just another day. For others, it's a chance to hand out (and eat) candy and get dressed up in an outfit you wouldn't otherwise wear on any other day of the year.

Having the right accessory to the Halloween costume is also very important. Imagine walking around dressed up as Moses: long robe and white hair/beard combo. You HAVE to cut out two large pieces of cardboard to make the Ten Commandments to go with the costume, or else you'd look like some sleepwalking old guy asking for candy.

Well, Halloween contact lenses are an accessory as well, and they are very popular. I have fit them at my office and they look really cool!

The Reading Eagle newspaper did a write-up on Halloween contact lenses (in which Dr. Weaver is featured!!!) talking about the importance of getting properly fitted to reduce the risk of potential vision-threatening problems with these type of lenses.

The issue with the "Halloween" contact lenses is that, even though they are cosmetic to enhance the appearance of the eyes, they are still considered medical devices (just like regular colored contact lenses) and require a prescription to be sold (state law). In general, a soft contact lens prescription consists of power, curvature, diameter and brand/material of contact lens. An optometrist evaluates the vision, fit and comfort for a specific lens and releases the prescription once everything appears great at the eye exam, so that the patient can purchase their supply of contact lenses for which they were fitted.

Individuals who buy these Halloween contact lenses without a prescription (online or specialty stores) may not even know how to insert, remove or take care of the lenses properly. And if not used properly, contact lenses can lead to many problems: dryness, irritation, allergy, inflammation, corneal ulcers, and potentially vision loss.

So, if a patient chooses a lens in which they've never been fitted, such as a Halloween contact lens, it's not guaranteed the the lenses will fit properly. However, when properly fitted and dispensed in an optometry office, the risk of potential problems are reduced.

So, if you are interested in accessorizing your Halloween costume this year, or would just like to wear funky contact lenses all year long, set up a contact lens evaluation sooner than later, because it takes some time to coordinate the ordering of the contacts and scheduling the contact lens fitting exam.

Dr. Weaver