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Beware Decorative Contact Lenses This Halloween

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It might seem tempting to try on a pair of decorative contact lenses to make your costume complete. However, doctors are warning consumers to avoid wearing a pair of decorative contact lenses on Halloween because of the dangers associated with them such as eye damage or serious eye infections.

Decorative contact lenses, sold over the counter, are illegal and can lead to permanent vision loss in the worst of circumstances. Doctors say that the danger lies in the fact that contact lenses sold over the counter are not fit to the individual consumer's eye the way that prescription contact lenses are and that this can inhibit the eye's ability to function. Although they are illegal, decorative contact lenses are sold on the Internet, at flea markets or at beauty salons.

A 2012 American Optometric Association survey found that 18% of Americans wear decorative contact lenses, with 28% saying they bought the lenses without a prescription eye exam and prescription written by an eye doctor. Eye doctors warn consumers that decorative contact lenses carry the same risks associated with prescription contact lenses and that it is important to undergo an eye exam and be properly fit with lenses to avoid bacterial infections, allergic reactions or even significant eye damage that can lead to irreversible vision loss.