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Decorative contact lenses? Prescription only!

By Dr. Roxanna Potter, FLTN Columnist- Changing your eye color has been possible for many years, and new advances in lens technology have made this an even healthier and safer option for many people. However, if the lenses are not fit and worn properly, they can be extremely dangerous to your eyes and vision.

Buying and selling contact lenses without a prescription from a licensed optometrist is illegal, and rightfully so. Complications from improperly worn contacts can include corneal abrasion (cut or scratch on the eye), allergic reactions, decreased vision, infections (bacterial, fungal or pseudomonas), redness, pain, irritation and blindness.

Tips for wearing colored/decorative contact lenses include:

  • Wear contact lenses only if they are fit and prescribed by an optometrist.
  • Do not purchase contact lenses from gas stations, video stores, websites, or any other place not authorized by law to dispense contact lenses.
  • Make sure contact lenses are properly cleaned and disinfected as instructed by your eye care professional.
  • Make sure you wash your hands before handling and cleaning your contact lenses.
  • Never swap or share contact lenses with anyone.
  • Never sleep while wearing contact lenses unless they are extended-wear lenses specifically designed for that purpose.
  • Return to your eye doctor immediately if you have any problems or concerns.

On the bright side, there are more breathable, better fitting colored lenses now for simple color changes, and plenty of fun, FDA-approved costume/theater designs for Halloween or special occasions. Worn properly, colored contacts can be great fun — just be sure to talk to your optometrist first!