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People who love Halloween often want to create the perfect costume. When creating a character like a zombie or a vampire, contact lenses can add that extra touch that will complete their look. What’s truly frightful, however, are the repercussions from purchasing contact lenses online without first consulting an eye care professional.
According to the American Optometry Association’s Eye-Q survey, 11% of consumers have worn decorative contact lenses, and 53% obtained them without a prescription. This article will outline some reasons why it is important to have a valid prescription for purchasing decorative contacts with or without built-in vision correction.
Contact lenses are medical devices than are more complex than many realize. A contact lens prescription is more than just the lens power, there are a number of other elements that are taken into account. Contact lenses are made from a vast array of materials which causes a variation of features that can either enhance or detract from it’s performance. Unapproved lenses can have oxygen transmissibility levels that are dangerously low and can starve the cornea of oxygen. Some lenses suit the chemistry of one person’s eyes better than another’s. An ill fitted curvature can lead to possible damage of the cornea. It is your eye doctor’s responsibility to ensure the contact lens is fitting correctly for the optimal health of your eyes.
Federally approved contact lenses go through ongoing, rigorous, testing to ensure they are sterile and disinfected prior to use. Unapproved lenses, even worn for a single evening which are thoroughly cleaned by the user, can have properties that increase their affinity for damaging and harmful bacteria. These bacteria can lead to serious infections that have been found to lead to blindness.
To be safe this Halloween, follow these safety tips for Contact Lenses:
Buy decorative contact lenses ONLY from an eyecare professional or retailer that requires a prescription and sells Health Canada Approved products. If you don’t already have a contact lens prescription, obtain a valid one and an eye exam
from your eye doctor.
Even for those with ‘perfect vision’, an eye exam and contact lens prescription are mandatory for proper fitting. Do not fall victim to false advertising of “one size fits all” or “no need to see an eye specialist”. If the contact lenses are being sold next to the till as an “add on” they are likely not Health
Canada approved.

Written by
Dr. Wes McCann

Dr. McCann earned his two Bachelor of Science degrees (both with honours) at Western University in London, Ontario, before going on to earn his Bachelor of Vision Science, accelerated MBA, and Doctor of Optometry degrees at the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) of Optometry in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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