Making Contact with Decorative Contacts

Making Contact with Decorative Contacts

When Lady Gaga pops in a pair of oversized, Anime-inspired contact lenses or Jennifer Lopez subtly turns her hazel eyes a deep brown, you can bet it’s all part of The Show. But if you use decorative contacts without getting a prescription from your eye doctor, you’re opting for “a look” that might mean you won’t be able to see at all!

A 2012 American Optometric Association survey found up to 14 million Americans have tried these products without using a prescription from an eye doctor! Instead they purchase one-size-fits-all lenses, made with who-knows-what kinds of dyes and paints, from the Internet, street vendors, beauty supply houses and Halloween or novelty stores. A poorly fitted pair of contacts can scratch your cornea and if they’re not properly cleaned and sanitized they can trigger infections, corneal ulcers and even blindness.

  • If you want to change your eye color, transform your iris into a kaleidoscopic pattern, or put the crowning touch on a scary costume, you can use decorative lenses safely, if you:
  • Get an exam from a licensed eye doctor, so you have a prescription that specifies the brand name of the contacts, lens measurements and an expiration date.
  • Purchase the lenses only from someone who requires a prescription to sell you contacts.
  • Follow all instructions on caring for and cleaning lenses.

You won’t be able to go complete Gaga, though. Her oversize lenses aren’t FDA approved -- and we sure hope she has then made by someone who knows how to do that safely.

Medically reviewed in September 2019.

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