You are here

Costume Contacts — Hauntingly Harmless or Devilishly Dangerous?

Costume Contacts — Hauntingly Harmless or Devilishly Dangerous?
25.10.2019 | Education

Halloween is just around the corner, and as we start to wrap up production for our costumes this year, we decided to do a deep dive on everyone’s favorite costume accessory. Yes, of course we’re talking about costume contacts.

We’ll be the first to admit: they are just as cool as they are creepy. Whether you need red and orange for that vampire look or foggy and white for that convincing undead look, costume contacts are a next-level way to achieve ultimate spookiness. But it’s important to do some background research to make sure you don’t risk any damage to your eyes.

Like we talked about in our introductory article on contacts, there are five different kinds of contact lenses, each one having a different comfort level and can be used for certain prescriptions. The most important aspect of contacts is that they fit comfortably. Because contacts are placed directly on the eye, comfort is primary. For this reason, contact fitting is a critical step of the process.

Costume contacts, for the most part, don’t have nearly as many options. Costume contacts that go under the guise of “one-size-fits-all” should never be worn, as they don’t have any of the critical measurements to fit you. On top of that, they can be made with cheap materials and the colored part of the contacts can be hand painted, meaning they lack any breathability, which can further harm your eyes.

In the US, it’s technically illegal to sell contact lenses without a prescription from a professional. This is put in place because contacts are medical devices, regulated by the FDA. Contacts that are sold without a prescription or aren’t FDA approved can cause more harm than good. Contact lenses that are sold for costume wear can be mis-sized and cause corneal abrasions, ulcers, and bacterial infections that can leave you blind.

But fear not! There is a way you can get the perfect finishing touch to your costume, as long as you do it the right way.

Believe it or not, costume contacts can be made to prescription and made with the same materials and fit to you, as long as you go to the right place and follow the instructions from your ophthalmologist or optometrist. That includes any special instructions on top of the regular ones for contacts: if they require any special care or have limitations to how long you should wear them, pay close attention to the instructions to ensure your eyes stay safe during all the spooky fun.

While we don’t carry them on hand, we can order custom colored contacts and have them delivered in a couple of days, if they have no power (power meaning they have no sight improvement to them). Getting custom contacts with a patient’s power can take 6-8 weeks to arrive. On top of that, even legitimate ones can be rather uncomfortable and can be very expensive. Dr. Troy Ogden recommends staying away from sketchy areas where costume contacts can be illegally sold. “Most people who use these costume lenses are getting them from gas stations and or flea markets which is why the problems occur. Bottom line, your vision is worth more than a great costume you will only wear for a few hours,” states Dr. Ogden.

We can admit, they look cool. But before you add them to your costume shopping list, we ask that you come in to be fitted and learn about the proper care for costume lenses. Go out there, get creepy, but most importantly: keep your eyes safe!

Images: Kathleen Sullivan from Pexels, Projeto Equality from Pexels, Cxpturing Souls from Pexels