Keep Your Eyes Safe on Halloween, Says CDC Alert

Don’t let an eye infection be the scariest part of your Halloween, warns the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), referring to the increasingly popular fad of including colorful or decorative contact lenses as part of elaborate costumes.

Decorative lenses bought without a prescription will likely not fit properly, leaving the eye more susceptible to scratches on the outer layer of the eye, or getting an ulcer (an open sore) on the cornea — the clear covering over the front of the eye, says the CDC. The result of a scratch or sore can be scarring, infection, and permanent vision reduction or loss in the most severe cases.

Places where you can purchase contacts include your eye doctors’ office, online, or by mail order — but always with a valid prescription, experts say.

“But don’t purchase decorative contact lenses from costume shops, online stores, beauty salons, drug stores, flea markets, or anywhere that doesn’t require a prescription,” the CDC warns.

Eye infections related to the improper use or care of contact lenses are very common.

“We see a lot of contact lense problems,” says Mark Feldman, M.D., an ophthalmologist with the Baptist Eye Surgery Center at Sunrise. “In our practice, we see about 150 contact lense infections a year of the cornea. These are very serious infections that can lead to the loss of vision in the affected eye.”

Here are everyday tips for the healthy wear and care of contact lenses, according tot he CDC:

• Never share contact lenses with others .
• Rub and rinse your contact lenses with contact lens disinfecting solution—never water or saliva—to clean them each time you remove them. Even if worn
occasionally, contact lenses must be disinfected and stored in new solution at least every 7 days.
• Never store your contact lenses in water.
• Replace your contact lenses as often as recommended by your eye doctor.
• Replace your contact lens case at least once every three months.
• Don’t “top off” solution. Use only fresh contact lens disinfecting solution in your case—never mix fresh solution with old or used solution.

Also see our infographic on other Halloween safety tips.

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