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October is Halloween Eye Safety Month

October 18th 2019

Think twice about using costume/decorative contact lenses this Halloween!

Trick or Treat?devil As Halloween approaches, scary makeup and spooky contact lenses can be fun additions to your Halloween costume. Costume/decorative lenses do not correct your vision, they just change the look of your eyes. Many people do not know the risks associated with these types of lenses. Most people believe that decorative lenses do not require the same level of care or consideration as a standard contact lens because many can be purchased at costume shops, flea markets, mall kiosks, and online without a prescription. This is far from the truth!

Did you know that in Canada a contact lens is considered a medical device (as regulated by Health Canada)? This means that in order to sell contacts, a retailer must be licensed by Health Canada before lenses can be imported and sold. The Medical Devices Regulations require that the medical devices imported and sold in Canada are safe and manufactured with the highest quality. Manufacturers and importers must meet the same obligations to produce, sell or distribute decorative contact lenses as they do for prescription contact lenses. Selling unlicensed health products in Canada is illegal!

Unregulated decorative lenses pose a real danger to people who use them, even if it is just for one night.

All types of contact lenses, including decorative/costume lenses can result in real hazards to the eye, including:

  • Cuts or scratches to the top layer of the eye (corneal abrasions)
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Allergic reactions (ex. itchy, watery, red eyes)
  • Infections
  • Decreased/impaired vision
  • Blindness
Risks of side effects, or adverse reactions, from contact lenses are higher in people who smoke and people with certain health conditions, such as dry eyes. The risk of adverse effects with unlicensed decorative contact lenses is higher than with licensed prescription contact lenses.
If you are dead set on wearing lenses to complete your costume this year, it is important to use those lenses safely. Here are a few tips on what you should do:
  • Only use licensed decorative contact lenses. NEVER purchase from a retailer who doesn’t ask for a valid contact lens prescription! As tempting as it may be to purchase cheap lenses online, it is just not safe. Purchase your pair of contacts from your optometrist instead, as it is important to see them first. Your optometrist will assess your eye health and ensure that the fit and vision is correct, and proper training is given. Having lenses that fit correctly and are taken care of properly, will drastically reduce the risk of eye injury or damage.
  • Read the instructions that accompany any package of costume contact lenses to help minimize the risks associated with their use.
  • Properly clean and disinfect your contact lenses as instructed by your optometrist.
  • ALWAYS! ALWAYS! ALWAYS! thoroughly wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses!
  • Never swap or share contact lenses with anyone. This can spread germs!
  • Never sleep with your contact lenses in – always take them out at the end of the night!
  • If blurred vision, redness, discomfort, swelling, discharge, or sensitivity to light occurs, remove the lenses immediately and discontinue use and contact your optometrist. If left untreated, these symptoms could lead to blindness. 
Halloween Makeup Tips:
  • Only use makeup products that are hypo-allergenic and make sure that any additives are Health Canada approved. You can check Health Canadas recall list if you are unsure.
  • When applying makeup near or around the eye, be sure to stay away from the inner lash line and be careful around the eyelid. The skin located under the eyes and around the eyelids is the thinnest skin in the human body and is very delicate and sensitive!
  •  If you are applying makeup very close to the eye, only use products approved for use in that area such as an eyeliner or eye shadow.
Remember, your eyes are precious! We only have one pair! The eye is the most sensitive organ of the human body and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all contact lens. Contact lenses can be dangerous if they are not handled properly. Don’t be haunted by your Halloween costume this year!
If you have any questions, please feel free to book an appointment with us to discuss your contact lens options!


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