This year, many Halloween parties are heading online due to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (see article below) to stay home during COVID-19. So you might be more tempted than usual to try out colored contact lenses. But beware: Costume contact lenses can blind you if not used correctly. And many costume contact lenses are sold without a doctor’s prescription, which is illegal in the United States.

“Consumers need to know that permanent eye damage can occur from using non-prescription lenses,” says Thomas Steinemann, MD, a practicing ophthalmologist at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. “Personally, I have seen far too many serious cases in both children and adults from using decorative lenses.”

What are costume contact lenses?

Costume contact lenses – also known as cosmetic or decorative contact lenses – are contact lenses that change how your eyes look. These contact lenses can make your eyes look different in many ways, from changing the eye’s color or pupil shape to giving cartoon or film character effects. They can be made with or without vision correction.

Learn more from the American Academy of Ophthalmology