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NBC33 Safety Alert: Costume Contact Lenses Pose Danger

POSTED: Monday, October 26, 2009 - 6:54am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:59pm

If your Halloween costume this year is needing a little something extra to push you into the "inhuman" category, costume contact lenses can give that theatrical punch. Improperly using costume lenses could have serious consequences on your eyes - as Louisiana optometrist Chad East explained.

"The potential risks range from infections to more serious problems, like corneal abrasions or corneal lacerations - which need immediate medical attention." Dr. East says even if you do not need corrective contact lenses, a prescription from your eye doctor is still a must to legally get your hands on costume lenses.

"The major concern with these lenses is that there are a lot of places around town - hair shops, beauty supply places - that sell these lenses and it's actually illegal to purchase these lenses without a prescription," Dr. East said. All contact lenses increase your risk of eye infections because they prevent normal amounts of oxygen from reaching the eye. With costume lenses, Dr. East says the most common infections are a result of people sleeping in them.

"Overnight wear seems to be what gets most people into a lot of trouble," he said, "these are not intended to be slept in." So, take the lenses out before your head hits the pillow this Halloween or a spooky infection could be on the horizon! A pair of costume lenses typically costs between $40-50.