KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Halloween is fast approaching which means trick-or-treaters and party-goers are lining-up their costumes.
That might mean adding a little spook to your eyes but be warned before buying colorful contacts. Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller got some expert advice to avoid a scare your eyes cannot bear.
The iconic 1980s music video “Thriller” did more than fuel a lot of record sales for Michael Jackson. It helped spark a particular “look” at Halloween.
“Maybe that was one of the beginnings of the popularity of those lenses and each year it’s grown,” said Family Vision Care of Kingston Optometrist Carl Urbanski, OD.
Those lenses are decorative or cosmetic contact lenses which government officials warn are illegal. Many can be found on internet sites but Dr. Urbanski says you can find them just about anywhere.
“We’ve had complaints that have been filed from selling them at the Bloomsburg Fair to corner gas stations to salons even will sell them,” Dr. Urbanski said.
They may look great but decorative contact lenses are not medical devices. The damage they can cause can range from eye irritations to something far greater.
Dr. Urbanski said, “A worst-case scenario is what we call a corneal ulcer which is an infection in the cornea and that is potentially scarring and potentially vision-threatening.”
What Dr. Urbanski wants to make crystal clear is that decorative contact lenses are not one size fits all. They require a prescription from a licensed eye doctor. The FDA mandates it whether it’s just for color or to correct your vision. Dr. Urbanski says that contact lens needs to be the perfect fit.
“You put the lens on the eye and you evaluate that interaction with the lens and the front of the eye to make sure it’s a safe lens to wear.”
Because when it comes to your vision that’s nothing to laugh at. To report improper use or sale of decorative contact lenses, call the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at 1-800-FDA-1088 if you know contact lenses or prescription eyeglasses are being dispensed without a valid prescription.
Contact the Pennsylvania Department of State at 717-783-1379 if unlicensed businesses are prescribing or distributing contact lenses or prescription eyeglasses.