Think Twice About Decorative Contact Lenses (Video)

The do’s (but mostly don’ts) of Halloween costume lenses

woman wearing colored contact lenses

Pediatric ophthalmologist Paul Rychwalski, MD, says both kids and adults should think twice about using decorative contact lenses on Halloween.

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“The front surface of our eye, on which the contact lens lies, requires oxygen in the tear film and from the air,” says Dr. Rychwalski. “If we cover that with a piece of plastic we’re really creating a barrier to the natural way the cornea gets its nutrients and oxygen.”

Decorative lenses have been known to scratch the cornea. They can also cause infections, pink eye and decrease vision.

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If you do want to wear decorative contacts

Dr. Rychawlski’s advice if you decide to wear costume lenses:

  • Even when you’re buying colored contacts, get an exam done by an eye care professional, who can write you a prescription for the lenses
  • To get the best fit, make sure the eye care professional measures the curvature of the eye, along with how the lens refracts light
  • Never buy lenses from places like beauty salons, Halloween stores or boutiques

“Simply using the contact lenses as a cosmetic device really isn’t a good idea. If your doctor is prescribing contact lenses and you also want to change the eye color, that’s safe because he or she has access to lenses that change the eye color but also pass very strict standards,” says Dr. Rychwalski.

Rather than using decorative contacts, Dr. Rychwalski suggests using hypoallergenic make-up to dress up the area around the eyes.

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