FDA Warns of Dangers of Decorative Contact Lenses

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that using decorative contact lenses this Halloween could cause irreversible damage to the eyes.

The FDA cautions that decorative contact lenses, popular at Halloween to change the color or appearance of the eyes, could cause injury or infections that could result in blindness, the Laredo Sun reports.

Decorative contact lenses are sold as cosmetics or fashion accessories, but all contact lenses are classified as medical devices, the FDA says, and require a prescription. Decorative contact lenses are sometimes labeled with misleading phrases such as “one size fits all” or the package says the buyer does not need to see an eye specialist. But the sale of any kind of contact lenses without a prescription is illegal, the FDA advises.

Contact lenses must be prescribed and fitted by a licensed eye care professional, and the lenses must meet FDA safety standards. “Never buy contact lenses from a street vendor, a beauty supply store, flea market, novelty store or Halloween store,” the FDA advisory says.

The FDA cautions consumers that all contact lenses have risks, which include:

  • A cut or scratch to the top layer of the eyeball (corneal abrasion)
  • Allergic reactions like itchy, watery, red eyes
  • Decreased vision
  • Infection
  • Blindness

The FDA says contact lens wearers should be aware of signs of injury or infection. A contact lens wearer who experiences redness, eye pain, or decreased vision should see an optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately to prevent serious eye damage or even blindness.

The FDA advisory says consumers can lessen the risks by obtaining any type of contact lenses through a doctor and carefully following instructions for cleaning and disinfecting the lenses.


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