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Certain aspects of a Halloween costume, like a wig, can make or break your look. What’s a clown without red curls or Dora The Explorer without her chin-length bob? Makeup is just as important, but one costume puzzle piece that often goes overlooked is contact lenses.
A set of temporary gray or green contacts can elevate a basic cat costume, while novelty lenses (like red or white) can be the thing that makes you actually look like something ghoulish, like a vampire or skeleton. However, before you temporarily upgrade your eyes, know that you should proceed with caution.
We asked an expert about the safest way to wear lenses this Halloween and it turns out, buying a set of lenses online or in a random store without a prescription might be the scariest thing of all.
According to Dr. Weslie M. Hamada, O.D., an optometrist at LensCrafters, wearing colored contacts for fun is safe only if you have a prescription, since they still need to be fit to your eyes. “If you don’t wear prescription glasses or contacts but just want to give your eyes a color lift, you can absolutely wear colored contacts,” she says. “But, you should still get a prescription from an optometrist.”
Dr. Hamada says that skipping a visit to a pro for a fitting “can cause negative ramifications including scratches to the eye, infections, decreased vision, or even blindness.” Yep, all from wearing the wrong size and/or untested materials. Plus, if not purchased from an authorized retailer, contact lens could be made with materials or dyes that haven’t been FDA approved and can, in turn, cause major damage to the eyes.
If you are interested in altering your eyes, Hamada says purchasing from a legitimate source, like LensCrafters or your local optician, is the first step to safety. “Anything put near your eyes should always be medically safe and FDA-approved,” she tells us. That means it’s best to skip the contacts at your local beauty supply store because they might not fit your eye shape — or worse — might not even be sterile. “When wearing ill-fitting and unsterile lenses, you run the risk of an eye infection and could even lead to severe vision loss,” she explains. Wearing unregulated contact lenses may also result in eye pain, allergic reactions, and decreased vision.
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