Decorative Contacts and Your Eyesight

Whether it’s for a daily cosmetic look or a Halloween costume, there are many people who use decorative contact lenses to change their eye color or look. But are decorative contact lenses safe?

Get Decorative Prescription Contact Lenses Only

Non-prescription costume contacts are illegal in the United States—lenses are considered medical devices and thus require a prescription and proper fitting by an eye-care professional. You may see costume contact lenses online or in Halloween shops, novelty shops, and beauty salons—these are not FDA-approved and should be avoided. An eye exam and prescription are both needed, even for those with 20/20 vision, so that an eye care professional can ensure that the contact lenses fit properly—preventing serious injury or difficulty removing the lenses. When used incorrectly, contact lenses can increase your chances of getting an eye infection and permanent eye damage can occur if you use non-prescription costume contacts.

To have fun with decorative contact lenses safely, follow the below guidelines set by the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

  • Get an eye exam from a licensed eye care professional who will measure each eye and talk to you about proper contact lens care.
  • Obtain a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements and expiration date.
  • Purchase the colored contact lenses from an optical retailer who requires a prescription, or from your eye care professional.
  • Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses.
  • Never share contact lenses with another person.
  • Attend follow-up exams with your eye care provider as directed.

If you experience swelling, redness, eye pain, discomfort, or excessive discharge as a result of wearing the lenses, remove them immediately and seek medical attention.