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Costume Contacts

Eye Surgeons Urge Proper Use of Cosmetic Contacts this Halloween

TORONTO – OCTOBER 17, 2017 – With Halloween quickly approaching, the Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario are reminding people to take good care when considering complementing their costumes with unregulated cosmetic contact lenses.  Currently, cosmetic lenses may be purchased in novelty stores without a prescription. 

“While decorative contact lenses may seem harmless, many forget that they are legitimate medical devices,” said Dr. Jordan Cheskes, Chair of the Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.  “Even though unregulated contact lenses can be found in stores, they still act exactly as corrective lenses do, and require proper fitting, and education on safe usage in order to prevent an eye injury.” 

Intended solely to change the appearance or colour of the eye, decorative contact lenses (also known as cosmetic contact lenses) carry increased risks as compared to standard corrective lenses in the way they are inserted and interact with the eye’s surface.  Ontario’s ophthalmologists strongly urge their patients to avoid acquiring these unregulated cosmetic lenses through on-line stores but only through a licensed eye care professional. 

"The real horror in Halloween is that improper use of cosmetic contact lenses can harm your eyes and could even cause permanent vision loss,” cautioned Dr. Cheskes. “The most common problems associated with unregulated cosmetic lenses are eye irritation and corneal infections, but the potential risk for long term damage is far more severe - including blindness." 

Health Canada has moved to regulate these devices starting July of 2016 with support from all eye care professional associations including those representing ophthalmology.  “Each year, eye care professionals across Ontario see young patients with eye injuries due to  these unregulated costume lenses.” said Dr. Cheskes “If you have access to cosmetic lenses and plan to use them this Halloween, please ensure that they were prescribed to you, and that you’ve been educated on their proper care to prevent a vision threatening nightmare from occurring to you".

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Marcia Kim

Director, Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

mkim@epso.ca | 647.317.5315

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