Halloween costumes are big business. In fact, the National Retail Federation estimates that around $2.6 billion will be spent on costumes for adults, children and pets this year. While the goal may be for fun, some people may make a dangerous decision that could lead to long-term problems. This is especially the case for those who are getting into the colored contact lens craze this Halloween season.
The current craze sweeping the nation has costume-wearers excited, and eye health experts concerned. As people reach for blood-red contacts to go with vampire costumes, iris color lenses for wolf costumes, and pure white ones for zombie costumes, they may be doing long-term damage to their eyes in the process.
“The contacts are fun and fairly cheap, so thousands of people are buying them. The problem is that people are unaware that contacts that are not prescribed by an eye doctor are likely to cause damaging effects on your eyes,” explains Dr. Edward Kondrot, the world’s leading ophthalmologist and board-certified physician.
It is against the law to purchase or sell contact lenses without a prescription from an ophthalmologist or optometrist. While the illegal purchase of colored-contacts occurs year-round, the amount heightens around Halloween when people want to create a unique eye-color for their costume.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, recent legislation has made it illegal to market decorative contact lenses as over-the-counter products. However, the FDA is aware that consumers without valid prescriptions have bought decorative contact lenses from beauty salons, record stores, video stores, flea markets, convenience stores, beach shops and the Internet.
Here are a few health risks that can occur from over-the-counter contacts without a valid prescription:
- Dyes. The dyes to create unusual colors in the contacts are toxic to your eyes, causing serious, sometimes irreversible damage.
- Poor Fitting. Contact lenses that don’t fit correctly can lead to a lack of moisture in your eyes and cause ulcerations.
- Lack of Sanitation. Over-the-counter lenses are illegal and not regulated by the FDA, leading to a poorly manufactured lens. Your risk of contracting a bacterial infection increases with cheap contacts.
“The poor quality plastic releases bisphenol-A (BPA) and Phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors and they can interfere with sexual development. These lenses can lead to cuts, sores, corneal abrasions, ulcers and possibly blindness,” adds Dr. Kondrot, “If you really want to wear contact lenses, you really need to see an eye professional and get a prescription. No Halloween fun should lead to permanent eye health problems.”
Dr. Kondrot is the author of three best-selling books, including “10 Essentials to Save Your Sight” (Advantage Media Group, July 2012), and president of the Arizona Homeopathic and Integrative Medical Association. He has founded the Healing The Eye & Wellness Center, located just north of Tampa, Fla., which offers alternative and homeopathic routes to vision therapies known as the “Kondrot Program.” The program focuses on such conditions as macular degeneration, glaucoma, dry eye, cataracts, and others. His advanced programs have helped people from around the world restore their vision. The center sits on 50 acres of land and features a 14,000-square-foot state-of-the art complex, an organic ranch, jogging trails, swimming pool, hot tub, and more. For more information, visit the site at www.healingtheeye.com.