Everything you need to know about decorative special-effect contact lenses.
Want to look like a vampire? Or show your support of your favorite professional sports team by wearing its logo on your eyes? You can do this and more with decorative special-effect contact lenses.
Special-effect contacts — including black contact lenses, Halloween contact lenses and other “crazy” lenses — are soft contact lenses that are available for theatrical and novelty uses.
It’s important to note that all contact lenses, including plano Halloween contacts and any other special-effects contacts, are classified as medical devices by the FDA and require a valid contact lens prescription from a licensed eye care practitioner.
Theatrical or novelty lenses are safe to wear — but only when they are properly prescribed and cared for, and purchased from a legitimate source. Bacterial eye infections from contaminated, poorly fitted or improperly worn special-effect contact lenses can occur rapidly, causing a painful corneal ulcer and even blindness.
How Do Special-Effect Contacts Work?
Special-effect contact lenses have an opaque (non-transparent) tint to completely mask your natural eye color and are available in a wide variety of dramatic colors and designs. The center of the lens, which lies over your pupil, is clear so you can see.
Most novelty or costume contact lenses cover just the colored portion of your eye (iris), but special-effect scleral lenses, like all-black, red, yellow or white contacts, cover both the iris and the “white” (sclera) of your eyes to create a truly haunting look.
Do You Need A Prescription?
Yes — while novelty contacts are designed for fun, they still are considered medical devices and cannot be purchased legally in the United States without a contact lens prescription.
You must see your eye doctor for a contact lens exam to have them properly fitted and prescribed, even if you have perfect eyesight and don’t need corrective eyewear.
Contact lenses — including special-effect lenses — are not a “one size fits all.” A poor lens fit can lead to eye infection, corneal ulcer, decreased vision and even blindness.
- Visit your eye doctor for a contact lens exam, fitting and prescription (regardless of whether you need vision correction).
- Buy contact lenses from a licensed ECP or an eyewear retailer that requires you to have a prescription. Never buy contact lenses from an unlicensed source that doesn’t require a prescription. Doing so greatly increases your risk of serious eye problems.
- Always follow your ECP’s instructions for wearing and caring for your contact lenses, and visit your eye doctor for follow-up eye exams.
- Never share your contact lenses! While it may seem like a fun idea to swap special-effect lenses with your friends, sharing contacts can spread harmful bacteria and may result in serious eye health problems, including loss of vision.
- Keep in mind that “crazy” contact lenses generally are designed for daily wear only and are not FDA-approved to be worn overnight.
- If you experience any eye redness, swelling or discomfort, immediately remove your contact lenses and contact your eye doctor as soon as possible. This could be the sign of a potentially sight-threatening eye infection.
- Wear only hypoallergenic, non-toxic makeup. If makeup is used on a child’s face, it should be applied and removed by an adult. For removal, use eye makeup remover or cold cream, not soap.
- Be aware that false eyelashes also can cause eye irritation. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding safe application and removal. And read our safety information on eyelash extensions if you’re considering those, because they too can irritate eyes.
For any question about your eye health, click HERE to schedule an appointment or call 407-292-9812!