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Halloween contact lenses and special effects lenses such as Ciba’s Wild Eyes, are a fun entertaining way to drastically change your appearance. When purchased through a qualified eye physician, these lenses are also fairly safe. In the United States, special effects lenses, and all contact lenses, can only be purchased with a valid contact lens prescription. Outside the U.S., however, and via websites based in other countries, contact lenses can be purchased without a prescription.
Unfortunately, wearing contact lenses that have not been prescribed can lead to serious eye damage and even blindness.
Special effects lenses have grown in popularity over the last couple of decades. Recently, there has been an even greater spike with teens and college age women, most-likely due to the computer-generated wide eyes that radio sensation Lady GaGa sported in her “Bad Romance” video.
This trend brings about the possibility of eye problems such as infections and corneal ulcers. “Contact lenses that are not fit properly on the eye can strangle the cornea, depriving the eye of oxygen,” says Denver Ophthalmologist, David Drucker. “If the cornea does not get enough oxygen, the eye can develop ulcers and infections that left untreated can lead to vision loss. It’s a serious, serious issue, and should not be taken lightly.”
The FDA has issued a warning that buying contact lenses without a prescription is dangerous. Reports of blindness due to wearing unregulated lenses have been received by the administration. For safe lens wear, they recommend getting an eye exam from a licensed eye doctor and a valid contact lens prescription that includes the brand and lens dimensions. Special effects contacts lenses should always be purchased from an eye care professional that requires valid prescriptions.
All contact lens wearers should always make sure they wash their hands thoroughly before handling their lenses and report to an eye doctor if they experience redness, burning, and sensitivity to light. Even minor irritation can be a symptom of something more serious and if persists should be checked out.