Are Halloween contacts safe?


Adults and kids alike throughout the country will soon be celebrating Halloween. Finding the perfect costume – be it a superhero, ghost or monster – is the most important to-do item. But some Halloween accessories can be harmful to your health well after Oct. 31.

Specifically, products used around the eyes and colored contact lenses are among the worst offenders. Here are three tips to follow to keep your eyes healthy during Halloween:

1. Colored contact lenses: Not recommended

October is contact lens safety awareness month. It is important to remember any contact lens is a medical device that needs to be evaluated by an eye care professional and requires a valid prescription to order, even if you have perfect vision. There are an increasing number of contact lenses available on the Internet that are not FDA-approved for safety and effectiveness.

Contact lenses cover the cornea, a very sensitive and important part of your eye that keeps your vision clear. A poor fitting or substandard contact lens can cause a serious eye infection, which can lead to permanent vision loss. Never buy lenses from any store or online retailer that does not ask for a valid prescription for the lenses.

[Related: 6 Contact lens no-nos]

2. False eyelashes and lash extensions: Not recommended

Eyelash enhancements have become increasingly popular due to their accessibility in beauty salons and cosmetic stores. Both false eyelashes and lash extensions use adhesives or glues to attach to your lashes, which can cause irritation, eyelid swelling, loss of natural eyelashes and allergic reaction. And because your natural eyelashes serve the important role of protecting your eyes from debris and the environment, using these products is usually not recommended by eye care professionals.

3. Eye makeup: Be cautious

Many people purchase and apply costume makeup to add authenticity to their Halloween get-up. Because they are strictly for looks (and do not take into account skin types, etc.), these types of makeup can cause skin irritation and serious allergic reaction, especially around the eyes. Always check the makeup’s ingredients and the FDA’s list of approved color additive ingredients. Also, try to use products you are used to using and know you tolerate. Many reputable cosmetic companies now make more vibrantly colored products that can be used for Halloween.


Dr. Stephanie Pisano, OD, FSLS, is an optometrist and assistant clinical professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

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