Halloween contact lenses dangerous, illegal without prescription

Lots of people take their Halloween costumes to the next level by using colored or theatrical contact lenses, but the ophthalmologists are warning that the practice could lead to blindness.

According to Dr. John Rabins of Optom-Eyes, Inc., a scratch on the cornea or an ulcer could lead to permanent vision loss. Theatrical lenses pose a risk for such harm. Other unpleasant side effects are decreased vision and corneal infections.

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"Contact lens prescriptions by law require an evaluation of the fit by a professional. So it's technically illegal to sell contact lenses without a valid prescription," Rabins told KXRM-TV

Contact lenses are not made to be one size fits all. Ophthalmologists consider the shape of each person's eye before giving out a prescription.
“Lenses, if improperly fit, can cause all sorts of issues,” he added.

In 2005, a federal law was passed making it illegal for anyone other than a licensed eye care professional to distribute them, but it's still easy to find them online and in mall kiosks, flea markets and beauty salons.

“These aren’t regulated. They’re buying these from an importer that did not import them through the legal channels, so they have no idea what they’re buying,” said Mark Modeer, president of Zeezo’s, a costume and accessories shop in Colorado.
Safe, colored contacts can be obtained with a prescription, but masks, makeup and other accessories are safer alternatives to using unfit lenses.