The Scary Truth About Halloween Contacts

Medically reviewed in October 2021

This Halloween, are you planning to buy novelty contact lenses to give your Catwoman, zombie or vampire costume that extra oomph? Be aware that the lenses can pose frightening risks to your eye health. Here’s why:

“There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to contact lenses,” warns Aaron Weingeist, MD, of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “We all have eyes of different shapes and sizes.”

Wearing contact lenses that aren’t properly fitted can result in scratches on the cornea, bacterial infections (keratitis), corneal ulcers and permanent vision loss. The American Academy of Ophthalmology also warns that many of the contact lenses sold in Halloween stores and online may not be manufactured to meet federal health and safety standards.

If colored contacts are an absolute must for your Halloween costume, follow these safety tips:

  • Get an eye exam from a licensed eye doctor first, even if you have perfect vision. Your doctor will determine the right size and fit of the contacts and then write you a prescription.
  • Only purchase FDA-approved colored contact lenses from a seller who requires a prescription. In fact, it’s illegal for any contact lens to be sold without one.
  • Steer clear of “anime” or circle lenses, none of which are FDA-approved.
  • Remember to take your lenses out at night—especially to go to sleep. When you take them out, always store them in contact solution, rather than tap water. 
  • Don’t forget to follow the instructions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing your contact lenses. Never share them with other people. If you develop signs of a possible eye infection like redness, pain, swelling or discharge, see your doctor immediately.

Don’t let contact lenses turn your Halloween into a horror story. Take the time to see your eye doctor first. 

For more information on eye health, check out these easy fixes for common contact mistakes.

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