As colored contact lenses increasingly become part of Halloween costumes, the Food and Drug Administration has warned against such lenses as a potentially dangerous product. Portland residents who purchase costume contacts as part of a Halloween costume are advised to refrain from trying them on. They should instead take the lenses to an eye doctor, who can recommend alternatives that fit properly and are sold by companies that are approved by the FDA.

Costume contacts appear under various names, such as fashion contacts, cosmetic contacts, color contacts or theater contacts. The FDA, which oversees the safety of all varieties of contact lenses, issued a press release in which it urged consumers to stay away from such products.

The release included a list of ways that costume contact lenses can harm their wearers. The agency says the lenses can scratch or cut cornea, cause an infection, inhibit quality of vision, cause allergic reactions and even lead to blindness.

The FDA tells consumers not to purchase contact lenses from any source that does not sell prescription contact lenses, such as costume shops or retail stores. Those preparing for Halloween are encouraged to complete their costume by other means, such as decorating their body or face-painting.

In any case, those committed to purchasing and wearing costume contacts should discuss the choice with a qualified medical professional before using them and possibly risking their eyesight. Individuals who ignore the warning should note that signs of injury caused by the lenses include eye pain, blurry vision and eye redness.

Source:, “FDA warnings concerning Halloween contact lenses,” Barbara Stanley, Oct. 25, 2011