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This post was most recently updated on November 7th, 2019
Recently people have been asking about my opinion when it comes to special effects contact lenses, there have been a few safety concerns surrounding the usage of these types of contact lenses over the years due to unregulated contact lenses being sold everywhere.
These lenses can be found under various different names such as Novelty, Special Effects, Halloween, or Theatrical, occasionally you might hear people call them Plano or Non-prescription contacts.
Prescription Special Effects Contacts
These contact lenses give you the ability to change your eye color to virtually any color or design. Some lenses make your pupil appear to be a different color, others make your pupils be different shapes, there are even some that are larger and cover your entire eye making it all one color.
You may have seen special effects contact lenses being sold online, at the swap meet, or at a store at your local mall, but those contact lenses do not require a prescription to purchase and are not safe to use. Besides if you require a prescription, those contact lenses do not correct your prescription and you wouldn’t be able to see out of them.
There are some potential risks of using these inexpensive and unregulated contact lenses.
Risks of Special Effects Contacts
There are many places that sell special effects contact lenses, but you shouldn’t just buy these contacts from any retailer. Why? Well, it turns out that many of those special effects contact lenses that you can find at your local stores are unregulated by the FDA, and could potentially contain bacteria or other toxins that can lead to a serious eye infection. Just because they are special effects contact lenses doesn’t mean that the risks are any different than regular contacts. Some problems that could arise include:
- Eye Pain – Eye pain that is caused by your contact lenses could arise from a number of different things. It could be something as simple as overwearing your contact lenses, to something more serious such as an abrasion on your eye.
- Hypoxia – Just like standard contact lenses, Hypoxia can occur and is a common problem for people who overwearing their contact lenses, or sleeping in their contact lenses. If you come home tire, you need to make sure you remove your contact lenses before going to sleep.
- Corneal Ulcers – These generally occur from things such as a direct injury to the eye, but can also arise when there is an infection that is caused by bacteria.
- Keratitis – This is an infection that is generally caused by improper handling and care of contact lenses. Can also be caused by overwearing your contact lenses.
- Bacterial Infections – You may have heard of pink eye or also known as conjunctivitis. This is an inflammation of the conjunctiva caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Remember what I was saying about those contacts containing bacteria or other toxins? It could cause an infection like this or worse.
- Permanent Loss of Sight – While this is rarer and is the worst-case scenario, it is still a risk and one that should be listed.
If you start experiencing any changes to your vision, redness, irritation or any pain seek medical attention immediately.
If you have special effects contact lenses that are FDA approved, and you follow all of the correct precautions when it comes to contact lens, they are relatively safe just like any other prescription contact lenses you can find on the market.
But where can you find FDA approved special effects contact lenses?
Lens.com is actually one of the very few places that you can find FDA approved special effects contact lenses at, and they have quite a nice selection for you to pick from. Whether you are trying to turn your eyes red like a vampire, or blue like a zombie, Lens.com has a selection of over 100 different types of special effects contact lenses that can help you transform into any monster or creepy creature look you are trying to achieve.
When you arrive on the page the contact lenses are organized in a few different categories. Right on the top, you will find the most popular lenses with a mix of various colors, shapes, and even a few that glow in the dark.
Right after that, you will find a few contacts from some of your favorite animes such as Sailor Moon and Naruto. Although this category is listed as Anime and Fantasy, I did notice contact lenses based on eyes of other anime characters in other categories as well so don’t limit yourself only to that one if you are looking for eyes of different characters.
Below that you will find some lenses that are inspired by various movies ranging from Avatar to Exorcism, even Star Wars. These lenses give you the ability to dress up as your favorite characters in every aspect all the way down to the eyes.
A few categories down you will find the category with all of the Scleral Lenses. Scleral lenses is a large contact lens that is designed to rest on the sclera and covers your entire eye providing you with a striking look by completely transforming your eyes.
You can order these lenses with or without a prescription. They are available to be ordered in the prescriptions anywhere between the power ranges between +4.00 through -6.00 depending on each individual type of lenses. Some lenses aren’t even available in a prescription at all. You will need to check the specific lens design that you are interested in to see what the available prescription parameters are. Unfortunately, the special effects lenses are not available in a prescription that includes astigmatism therefore if you have astigmatism you will not be able to wear the special effects contact lenses. You may be able to get non-prescription lenses can use your glasses over them.
Do you need a current prescription?
If you live in the United States or you are getting your special effects contact lenses shipped to an address in the United States Lens.com is required to verify your prescription. So, in that case, you will need a current prescription to purchase your special effects contact lenses.
Even if you had a contact lens prescription already you will still need to have your prescription specifically written out for the special effects contact lenses. Lens.com gives you the option of being able to do your vision test online right on their website. How it works is that you take your vision test online, the doctor’s over at Lens.com reviews your test, afterward, you will receive a valid prescription. That service is available for a very reasonable price of $20.
Best practices with any contact lenses
Even though there are risks when it comes to using contact lenses, they are relatively safe when you use proper handling and care while you are using them. While using best practices doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have any complications, it does however drastically reduce the risks. Take a look at some tips below.
- Wash Your Hands – I can not stress enough how important it is for you to wash your hands before handling your contact lenses. If you do not properly wash your hands before handling your contacts, any contaminants that are on your hands can easily be transferred over to the contact lenses which would put you at risk of developing an eye infection.
- Keep Case Clean – This is another thing that is very important to stay on top of. It is generally recommended that you change your case out once every 90 days. Aside from that, it is always recommended that you regularly clean your case and always store your contact lenses in fresh solution.
- Use Correct Solution – Only clean your contact lenses with a contact lens solution that is approved for your type of contact lenses. If you do not know what you should be using for your type of contact lenses be sure to ask your doctor that prescribed you the contact lenses. Never use soap and tap water to clean or store your contact lenses.
- Avoid Overnight Wear – If you are using contact lenses that are not approved for overnight wear then you should be avoiding overnight wear all together. If you are wearing extended wear contact lenses that are approved for overnight wear you should try to avoid it whenever possible.
- Avoid Overusing Contacts – You should always avoid using your contact lenses for longer than the manufactures recommended duration. Daily disposables should be thrown out after every use, biweekly contact lenses every 14 days and month disposable contact lenses every 30 days. Keep in mind that there are factors that could shorten the lifetime of your contact lenses. Pay attention to how your contact lenses feel in your eye, if they start feeling irritated or scratchy you should think about changing your lenses.
- Avoid Expired Contacts – Contact lenses generally have long expiration dates but if you happen to hold on to some contact lenses for a long time and find that your contact lenses have expired, it is not recommended to use them. The solution that the contact lenses are stored in could have an unstable pH and could lead to complications.
- Reduce Wearing Time – It is always a good idea to give your eyes a break whenever you get a chance so your cornea could take a breather. Depriving your eyes of its needed oxygen for too long could heighten the risk of getting an eye infection.
Now that you know there is a place where you can find special effects contact lenses you can focus back on creating the costume you imagined.
If you are ordering one of the more expensive lenses and want to find a coupon code to help save you some money, take a look at our review of Lens.com to find the latest coupon codes available.
If you have used special effects contact lenses before and have pictures I would love to see them, share it with @EyeHealthHQ. As Always thank you for stopping by Eye Health HQ, if you enjoyed the article don’t forget to share it through your favorite social media channels. Thank you for your support!