For some people, Halloween is more exciting than celebrating their birthday. The thought of gasping in fear as they walk through a haunted house outshines exhaling to exhaust the flame of a birthday candle.
However, there are a few aspects of Halloween that can endanger eye health and safety. It's the OD's duty to keep patients informed before they plan their costumes. If you have patients at your practice who are Halloween junkies, then this post is for you.
This post was originally written by our partners at the Optical Journal.
While it is illegal to sell non-prescription contact lenses, they can still be easily purchased at many places such as beauty supply stores, costume shops, and on the web. Falsely advertised as “one-size-fits-all” or “no prescription necessary,” these lenses can cause serious eye damage. The FDA issued a warning on the risks associated with contacts here. In some cases, the top layer of your cornea can be ripped off, after a mere four hours of wearing non-prescription contact lenses that you buy at a jewelry booth.
Ophthalmologists – the physicians and surgeons that specialize in medical and surgical eye care – are reminding people of five frightening consequences of ignoring the warnings:
“One night of the perfect Halloween costume isn’t worth risking your vision,” said Thomas L. Steinemann, M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “If you must have contact lenses to complete your costume, avoid over-the-counter ones at all costs. Protect your vision by getting prescription lenses from an eye health professional.”
The Academy encourages the public to watch and share its “No Prescription, No Way” public service announcement that shows the serious damage that these non-prescription costume contact lenses can inflict on the eyes.
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Originally published in 2016. Updated in 2021 for richness of content.