Halloween is a popular time for people to use coloured contact lenses to enhance their costumes. From blood-drenched vampire eyes to glow-in-the-dark lizard lenses, costume contacts can certainly add a spooky, eye-popping touch.
Few know the risks associated with costume lenses. Most people believe that decorative lenses do not require the same level of care or consideration as a standard contact lens because they can be purchased over-the-counter or on the Internet. That's far from the truth.
In fact, it is illegal to sell coloured contact lenses without a prescription in the Canada. As of July 15 2016, cosmetic and colour contact lenses can only be purchased at registered ophthalmic clinics. All contact lenses are medical devices that require a prescription and proper fitting by an eye-care professional. Retailers that sell contacts without a prescription are breaking the law, and may be fined.
Never buy coloured contact lenses from a retailer that does not ask for a prescription. There is no such thing as a "one size fits all" contact lens. Lenses that are not properly fitted may scratch the eye or cause blood vessels to grow into the cornea. Even if you have perfect vision, you need to get an eye exam and a prescription from an eye-care professional in order to wear any kind of contact lens.
In Butler's case (above), the lenses caused an infection and left her with a corneal abrasion. "I was in severe pain and on medication for four weeks, and couldn't see well enough to drive for eight weeks," she said. "I now live with a corneal scar, vision damage and a drooping eyelid."