Decorative contact lenses are non-corrective lenses that do not correct vision and are intended to temporarily change the appearance of the eye. Advertised as color, cosmetic, fashion and theatrical contact lenses, they are especially popular around Halloween. However, use of these lenses can carry serious risks, including permanent eye injury that may lead to blindness.
Dr. Ron Chapman, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) director and state health officer, today warned consumers about the risks associated with wearing decorative contact lenses without proper consultation with an eye care professional.
Wearing any kind of contact lens, including decorative lenses, can cause serious injury if not used correctly. The risks include infection, blindness, ulcers, decreased vision, cuts or scratches to the surface of the eye, itchiness or redness. If these conditions are left untreated, the injuries can progress rapidly. In the most severe cases, blindness and eye loss can occur.
All decorative contact lenses currently approved or cleared under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act are classified as prescription medical devices and, therefore, may be sold only to or on the prescription of a licensed practitioner. However, non-FDA approved decorative contact lenses can be found almost anywhere, and are typically sold at beauty supply stores and other novelty stores.