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Halloween Health Warning: Beware Of Decorative Contact Lenses

LANSING (WWJ) - Halloween enthusiasts may wear decorative contact lenses, which can change a person's eye color or create the effect of a character like a cat, zombie, or vampire as part of their costume.

But according to the Michigan Optometric Association (MOA), if these lenses are bought without a prescription from an eye doctor, they could lead to serious health issues and potentially damage your eyesight.

All contact lenses are classified as medical devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and require a valid prescription, whether they correct your vision or are worn simply for a special occasion, like Halloween, proms or weddings.

However, some decorative lenses are sold illegally through flea markets, the Internet, beauty salons, convenience stores, and even national retailers, according to Dr. Paul Hodge, MOA member and practicing optometrist in Allegan.

"When purchased over-the-counter, decorative contact lenses can put people at risk for bacterial infections, allergic reactions, or even significant damage to the eye's ability to function, with the potential for irreversible sight loss. Sadly, numerous cases of serious harm have been documented," Hodge said in a statement.

"Don't buy contacts from any store or website that doesn't require an eye doctor's prescription," Hodge added. "In other words, if you can walk in off the street, or log-on to a website and buy them without verification of your prescription, the lenses are not being sold legally."

The MOA offers the following recommendations for all contact lens wearers:

  • Wear contact lenses only if they are fitted and prescribed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist
  • Do not purchase contact lenses from beauty salons, costume supply stores, websites, or any other place not authorized by law to dispense contact lenses
  • Never swap or share contact lenses with anyone
  • Never sleep while wearing contact lenses unless they are extended-wear lenses specifically designed for that purpose

For more information about the risks associated with decorative contact lenses, visit

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