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Halloween Contact Lenses - Safe for People Who Never Wore Contacts Before?
by Tanya Turner - September 24, 2005
Halloween contacts can add a lot of impact to your Halloween costume. People who wear corrective contact lenses often experiment with costume lenses as well. But if you don't wear contacts on an everyday basis, would Halloween costume lenses be safe and comfortable for you?
What are Halloween contacts lenses?
Halloween lenses, also called costume or theatrical lenses, are soft contact lenses with a layer of color embedded in them. Top quality costume lenses are produced by the companies that also manufacture ordinary (corrective) contact lenses. To ensure that painted special effect lenses are safe, manufacturers use special paints that don't irritate the delicate surface of your eye.
There are hundreds of different designs: cat's eyes, snake eyes, spirals, white-out and black-out lenses, banshee, vampire red, and many more besides. See pictures of Halloween costume contact lenses.
Most costume lenses are completely opaque, to hide your real eye color, with a clear center so you can see. A fe w designs, like white-out, which creates an effect of blind eyes, are completely opaque, though, so it is recommended to that you wear them only one at a time.
The majority of theatrical contact lenses are round in shape (like corrective lenses) and cover only your iris. However, there is also a type of lens, called scleral, that covers the entire visible surface of your eye. Scleral lenses are used only for special effects (not for correction) and usually cost a bit more than round ones. Sclerals are also more difficult to put in.
Are costume contact lenses comfortable?
Yes, if you select the lenses that are right for you. To make sure that your lenses are safe and comfortable, you should only go for quality brand name special effect lenses. Currently the most popular costume lenses on the market are Wild Eyes, manufactured by Ciba Vision, and Crazy lenses, from Cooper vision. Both brands are made from top quality materials, feel comfortable in your eyes, and come in variety of exciting designs.
Quality special effect contacts are comfortable for most people. In fact, if the lens is properly fitted, you shouldn't feel it at all. Soft contact lenses don't have any adjustment period and generally feel comfortable in your eyes straight away. However, if you don't wear contact lenses every day, you might want to order your costume contacts in advance and wear them for a few hours each day, several days before the party.
Costume lenses might get a bit less comfortable as the day goes on. The reason is that they can't be as thin as clear corrective lenses - the opaque color layer adds extra thickness - so the lens doesn't let enough oxygen get to your eyes. It is recommended not to wear them for longer than 8 hours. And you should always take them out before going to bed.
Do I need doctor's prescription?
It might sound silly, but you do. Corrective or not, costume lenses are medical devices, and even though most people can wear them without problems, you should consult your eye doctor and get a prescription. Also ask the doctor how to put your costume lenses in and take them out. All brand name special effect contacts come with clear instructions, about putting them in and taking them out, but it takes a bit of practice.
Where can I get Halloween costume contact lenses?
After getting your prescription comes the time to buy your lenses. You can order them through the doctors office, but this is the most expensive option. You would save a lot if you purchased your Halloween lenses from an online contact lens retailer instead. Just make sure that the shop is reputable and specializes on contact lenses, not just Halloween costumes.
If you are wondering if it is all too much trouble, I would say go for it. Without eyes to match, a costume just doesn't look complete. And the care isn't at all difficult - all it takes is a couple of minutes. Just follow the doctor's instructions.
About the Author
Tanya Turner is a color contact lens expert and a founder of Contact Lenses Consumer Guide which provides you with information about all types of contact lenses including Halloween costume contacts, and colored contacts reviews and pictures.
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