6 Common Myths About Cosmetic Lenses
Whether you are trying to put together the perfect Halloween costume, wearing a costume for another reason, or simply want to change your look, you may be tempted to use cosmetic contact lenses. These decorative lenses come in a wide array of colors and designs and go by many names, including fashion lenses, colored lenses, and theatre lenses. However, cosmetic lenses can cause serious damage to your eyes if you do not use them properly.
It’s essential to take some precautions before getting started—here are some common false myths that you should understand as you shop for your new lenses:
1) You don’t need to see an eye doctor to wear cosmetic lenses – FALSE!
Cosmetic lenses are widely available, so you may think that you can simply choose a pair and start wearing them. Not so fast – it’s actually critical that you see an eye care professional first. You can wear cosmetic lenses safely, but only when you do so under the care of an eye doctor. Your eye doctor can determine whether you are a good candidate for these lenses, measure your eyes for a proper fit, and provide essential safety tips for use.
2) Cosmetic lenses are safe for anyone to use – FALSE!
Especially if you don’t need vision correction or haven’t seen an eye doctor recently, you may not be aware that you cannot or should not wear contact lenses. It’s true that most people who want to wear contact lenses can do so, but there are a few contraindications that could make these lenses unsuitable for you. For example, if you have had recurring eye infections, suffer from allergic reactions, have very dry eyes, or are often exposed to smoke or dust, then you should probably steer clear of cosmetic lenses.
3) It’s fine to buy cosmetic lenses online – FALSE!
You can buy cosmetic lenses online safely, but only from sites that require a prescription. You would never buy corrective lenses from a website without a prescription, and cosmetic lenses are no exception. You should also avoid buying your lenses from beauty supply stores, street vendors, novelty stores, convenience stores, and anywhere else that does not require you to have a prescription from an eye doctor first.
4) Sleeping, swimming, or showering in your lenses once or twice is fine – FALSE!
When you wear contact lenses daily, it’s easy to get so comfortable with them that they become an integral part of your life. It can be tempting to sleep, swim, and shower in them–but don’t. These activities all present an elevated risk of irritation or infection, problems that can lead to permanent vision damage in severe cases. Whether you’re wearing regular corrective lenses or cosmetic ones, take them out before you go to bed, hit the pool, or take a shower–every time.
5) Cosmetic lenses are one-size-fits-all – FALSE!
Don’t assume that just because you find a pair of cosmetic lenses you like that you can just pop them into your eyes and start wearing them. As with corrective contacts, cosmetic lenses come in different sizes, and wearing the right size is critical to the health and comfort of your eyes. That’s why it’s so important for an optometrist to fit your cosmetic lenses for you. Wearing contacts that are the correct size will help you to maintain both the look you want and clear vision.
6) The cosmetic lenses sold in Halloween stores are safe to wear
What about all those Halloween stores that sell colored contacts–is it okay to buy a pair and wear them once? Unfortunately, the answer is no. First of all, these vendors are breaking the law, as it is illegal to sell contact lenses without a prescription in the US. Keep in mind that a severe eye infection can come from a one-time exposure to a lens that is not fitting properly or that is contaminated.
Don’t be tempted to purchase those cute lenses just for a party–do your due diligence and see your eye care provider first. Then, you’ll be free to create a look or costume that will be both fun and safe.