Halloween contacts are very popular but it's important to understand the risks associated with buying cheap fashion contacts online first.
Cosmetic, fashion or theatrical contact lenses, as they are otherwise known, have become hugely popular in the last few years. Halloween party-goers are constantly on the look-out for better, more outrageous costumes and many spend weeks making their own outfits to impress friends and get into the scary season spirit.
Halloween contacts offer a great way to "finish off" an outfit to perfection, especially for many characters where the eyes are a focal point of a fancy dress outfit, such as Neytiri, the Na'vi in the Avatar movie.
While your average high street optician won't stock many, if any, of these cosmetic colored contact lenses, there are hundreds of online retailers waiting to take your money.
Banshee Contact lenses - $29.99
from Vision Direct
Scary contact lenses like the one on the left are incredibly popular as you don't need a prescription for vision correction to wear them. Many of them are made with what is known as zero power, known as a plano lens, a bit like wearing a pair of clear glasses for eye protection. NB: This Banshee contact lens is also available with prescriptive powers.
There's another good reason for visiting an optician first. You need to check that your eyes are suitable for contact lenses. If you have a common condition called astigmatism, for example, where the cornea in your eye has an irregular curve, you may not be able to wear fashion lenses.
In addition, certain lenses, like the banshee style above, will rotate on eye-balls with an irregular curve, so you'll end up looking like a cross-eyed banshee - perhaps the scary Halloween look you're aiming for, but then again...maybe not.
There are several risks with buying cheap cosmetic colored contact lenses:
The color on the lens is achieved by adding an extra layer of colored film (or several layers if there are multiple colors involved) to the contact lens. This means that the lens is thicker than your average soft contact lens and may cause discomfort...
Cheap lenses made in the Far East are often made of poor quality plastic that doesn't allow much oxygen to pass through the lens; your eyes need oxygen to "breathe" otherwise they become dry and itchy. Discomfort and possible eye infections could result.
Young people are the main target for cheap Halloween contact lens retailers and young people love to share things. If they do that with their contact lenses, serious eye infections could damage a precious commodity - their eyesight!
Finally, people who use cosmetic lenses as fashion accessories often don't adhere to the correct cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Halloween contact lenses are usually soft lenses intended for around 30 days use. This means that they can be re-used up to 30 times but, as most people will only wear them occasionally, it is CRITICAL to throughly clean and disinfect the lenses before storing them, ready for the next wear.