Trick or treat? Think twice before using cosmetic contacts on Halloween.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Unregulated cosmetic lenses pose a real danger to people whouse them even for just one night, warns the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO), and Canadians should be aware of the serious eye damage wearing unregulated cosmetic lenses can pose.

Unregulated cosmetic lenses can result in real hazards to the eye, including allergic reactions, pink eye, corneal scratches, corneal ulcers, infections, decreased vision and even blindness.Now that cosmetic contact lenses are considered a Class II medical device in Canada, they are treated as equivalent to corrective cosmetic lenses. Manufacturers and importers must meet the same obligations to produce, sell or distribute cosmetic contact lenses as they do for prescription contact lenses.

“Cosmetic lenses can change your look, but optometrists would prefer that this look not be life -changing,” says CAO President Dr. Michael Dennis. “Unregulated lenses – generally found at flea markets, gas stations or in novelty stores – can be problematic and consumers should be careful about what they put into their eyes.”

CAO offers the following tips to help Canadians with their Halloween costume preparations:

  • Read the instructions that accompany any package of cosmetic contact lenses to help minimize the risks associated with their use. If blurred vision, redness, discomfort, swelling or discharge occurs, stop using the lenses immediately and see your optometrist.
  • Properly care for your contact lenses.
  • Never share contacts, which can spread germs.
  • Use makeup products that are hypo-allergenic and make sure that any additives are approved (check Health Canada’s recalls list if you are unsure).
  • When applying make-up near or around the eye, stay away from the lid, or lash line — the area where you would normally apply eye liner. If you are applying make-up very close to the eye, use only products approved for use in that area such as an eye-liner or eye shadow.

Don’t be haunted by your Halloween costume! Get eyewise and consult with your optometrist first.