Halloween Comes Once a Year, Vision is for Life!

Ottawa, ON October 26, 2015 (GLOBAL NEWSWIRE) The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) reminds Canadians to be mindful of potential risks to their eyes at this time of year. Your spooky costume is only for one night, but the consequences to your vision can be lasting if you don’t consider eye safety.

In recent years cosmetic contact lenses have been a popular part of Halloween fun and while they can add dramatic flair, they can also pose a risk. Cosmetic (decorative) contacts sold at Halloween often cover a larger portion of the eye (known as ‘scleral’ lenses). These lenses do not correct vision but change the colour and appearance of the eye for dramatic effect. They can be particularly problematic because they are more difficult to remove than other lenses, they do not have the same level of oxygen permeability as other lenses and all the risks associated with corneal oxygen deprivation are multiplied many times over. Inflammation and ulceration can develop quickly and could result in permanent damage to the eye and to vision.

There is no difference between cosmetic contact lenses and corrective (prescription) contact lenses in the way they are inserted and interact with the eye. “We have heard stories of people sharing contact lenses or using saliva to moisten them and these are the kinds of practices that can cause complications. Those who have not been instructed by a trained professional may not know these actions can threaten their vision.” stated Dr. Barry Thienes, President of the Canadian Association of Optometrists.  “The allure of cosmetic contact lenses is huge at this time of year and, unfortunately, optometrists across Canada must deal with the after affects.” 

Complications that may result in vision loss include:

  • Scratches on the cornea from a poor fit
  • Eye infection from improper use and handling
  • Either of the above from inferior materials used to make the devices

Wearing contact lenses without professional guidance and a valid prescription puts people at risk for ocular inflammation, bacterial infection or mechanical damage to the eye, with the potential of irreversible loss of sight. A proper eye health evaluation can determine whether or not patients are viable candidates to wear contact lenses and if they are capable of wearing contact lenses without problems.

Vision is precious. If novelty contact lenses are the finishing touch for your Halloween costume, see your doctor of optometry first. Your optometrists will assess your eye health and fit your lenses and provide the training for proper use and handling. Don’t have an optometrist? Find one in your area: https://opto.ca/find-an-opto

For more Halloween safety tips for you and your children, visit: https://opto.ca/halloween-safety

The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO), the Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) and the Opticians Association of Canada (OAC) have been pursuing legislative change to protect Canadians from the risks discussed above. Earlier this year, legislation (Bill C-313) was passed that requires cosmetic contact lenses to be treated in the same way as corrective lenses, these regulatory changes come into effect in July 2016.


-30 -


About the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO):
The CAO represents approximately 4,250 doctors of optometry in Canada. Doctors of optometry provide two-thirds of all primary eye care in the Canada.

Optometrists are highly qualified, trained doctors on the frontline of eye and vision care who examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. In addition to providing eye and vision care, optometrists play a major role in a patient’s overall health and well-being by detecting systemic diseases such as diabetes, glaucoma, and others. For more information see www.opto.ca

For more information or to arrange an interview with a doctor of optometry, please contact:

Debra Yearwood
Director of Marketing and Communications
Tel.: 613 235 7924 Ext 213
Email: dyearwood@opto.ca