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October 30, 2019 - Public Blog

No costume is worth the risk! Ensure you are protecting your eyes

Halloween is upon us, and children and adults alike are planning their costumes, which often include decorative or cosmetic contact lenses in various colours or special effects such as cat eyes, swirls or other designs. While decorative contact lenses can be purchased at any novelty store, they can pose significant eye health risks such as infections, irritations, allergic reactions, cuts or scratches to the cornea, impaired vision, and even blindness, so it's important to use these lenses safely. Not all contact lenses fit all eyes, nor do all materials of lenses work for all eyes, so a consultation with a licensed optician or optometrist is recommended before using any type of contact lenses. If you're thinking about using decorative lenses, it's recommended that you do so with the guidance, direction and fitting by a licensed eye care professional. 

In 2016, Health Canada began regulating cosmetic contact lenses as medical devices in an attempt to make them safer for consumers. Under the new legislation, contact lenses must be licensed by Health Canada before they can be sold. To protect your eye health, Health Canada recommends the following guidelines for the use of cosmetic contact lenses: 

  • Use only licensed decorative contact lenses, which you can verify by visiting the Health Canada website 
  • Properly clean and disinfect your decorative contact lenses as directed in the product instructions.
  • Wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling and cleaning decorative contact lenses.
  • Never swap or share decorative contact lenses with anyone.
  • Never sleep while wearing decorative contact lenses unless they are extended-wear lenses designed for that purpose.
  • Contact a licensed eye care professional if you have used decorative contact lenses and have health concerns. If you experience any redness, blurred vision, ongoing discharge or sensitivity to light, remove the lenses immediately and contact an eye care professional. If left untreated, these symptoms could lead to blindness. 

Cosmetic contact lenses are not the only risk to eye health this Halloween. Using makeup that's not specifically designed for the area surrounding the eye can pose significant risks. These products can contain chemicals, dyes and other additives that are harmful when used too close to the eye and can cause irritation, infection or visual impairment. Using products such as lip liners or blush that have been used on other parts of your face or body can transfer bacteria to your eyes.

Protect your vision this Halloween by making sure you have all the information you need to make an informed choice.    

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