Are Cosplay Contacts Safe? Why You Shouldn’t Trade Function for Looks
Your costume is perfect and you're so excited. In fact, you're certain to be in the running for the best costume at the event you're going to. All that you need is a pair of the perfect cosplay contacts to add the finishing touch to your outfit.
You’ve already spent a lot to put together your costume, so you’re looking to save some money on your lenses. You remember that your friends mentioned you can get a cheap pair of fake contacts online without even needing a prescription. But is that a good idea?
Every year, there are more than 33,000 emergency room visits for contact lens injuries in kids and teens. A large portion of those is due to the incorrect use of cosmetic contacts.
Are you thinking of using these lenses for your next major comic con convention? Then read on! Here’s everything you need to know before putting colored cosplay contacts into your eyes.
It's Illegal to Sell Contacts Without a Prescription
You found some sweet cosplay contacts online that complement your costume perfectly. And the best part? You didn’t need to enter a prescription to get them!
Back up a second there. Before you get too excited, there’s a big red flag you should know about. It's illegal in the United States to sell contact lenses without prescriptions. How serious are contact lenses, exactly? Well, selling them without prescriptions comes with a $16,000 fine.
This is because people have suffered serious repercussions after only wearing them once. As harmless as they might seem, contact lenses are actually medical devices. So they’re regulated by the FDA for your health and safety. You should only ever use FDA-approved lenses in your eyes.
An unlicensed vendor can sell whatever they want. There's no way for you to know if the contacts have been packaged correctly, are the correct size, or are even new. There have been cases of illegal sales of opened and used contacts. Obviously, this isn't sanitary at all. Using those types of contacts means taking a big risk with your vision.
Get Properly Fitted for Lenses
You must see a doctor and get fitted properly for the contacts you plan on wearing. Even if you have 20/20 vision, you should still make an appointment. Otherwise, your lenses might be a bad fit and cause damage to your eye. You may think that because you're only going to wear the contacts for a few hours, it won't be a big deal. But think again! It only takes a split second to cut or scratch your eye.
Also, like we said above, fittings are necessary even if you have perfect vision. This is because every person’s eyes are unique and contacts will fit them differently. Those one-size-fits-all lenses you see at the gag shop will probably cause you discomfort. Plus, they usually don’t come with cleaning instructions, which means there’s a higher risk of improper care and infections.
Health Risks of Cosplay Contacts
Let's look at some of the health risks associated with using unregulated contacts. Ill-fitting contacts can cut or scratch your eyes. This allows bacteria to get inside your eyes and has a high potential for infection. It can result in corneal abrasions and can even lead to ulcers. Eye infections can be fast acting and the results can be devastating. If the infection is severe enough, it could lead to blindness.
One important aspect of proper contact lens wear is oxygen permeability. Because of the extra pigments, many cosplay contacts don't allow for good flow of oxygen. To compensate for the lack of oxygen, extra blood vessels grow, which can hinder your vision. The cornea can warp and sustain scarring.
Also, in an effort to get enough oxygen flow, your body will plump up the blood vessels in your eye. This causes a bloodshot look. Over time, this can lead to more serious diseases, like macular degeneration. In short, the health risks associated with wearing cheap, unlicensed cosplay contacts can be quite serious.
Safe Color Contacts
What about your amazing costume? Without the added eye effects, it will only be half as cool. Isn’t there a way to use colored contacts safely?
There is, but it doesn't come cheap. But keep in mind it’s still much cheaper than the cost of surgeries. Not to mention it’s more convenient than permanent blindness too.
Always visit a licensed eye doctor to have a proper lens fitting. The prescription he or she gives you will be for the right fit and size of contacts. This will help ensure they don't damage your eyes. The doctor will also teach you how to keep your lenses clean and how to use them safely. For example, it may only be safe to use your particular contacts for a specific period of time.
Do not sleep in any color contacts because you risk depriving your eyes of oxygen. Plus, your doctor will teach you how to properly clean and store your contacts to keep them disinfected and ready for use in the future.
In case your doctor forgets to warn you, we'll tell you here. Don't ever share your contact lenses with anyone else. Not only is it unsanitary, but the contacts also won't be the proper fit for your friend. They can cause the issues we've already discussed.
When you go to buy your contacts, be sure to buy them from a reputable source, like LensPure. How do you know they're reputable? You can ask your eye doctor for recommendations. Make sure that they sell FDA-approved color lenses. If they ask for your prescription, it’s a good indication that the lens seller is legit.
Complete Your Awesome Costume
In short, yes, it is possible to top off your costume with the perfect set of colored contacts. Just be sure to go about it in the right way. The potential risks to your vision and health are not worth the few dollars you might save buying cheap lenses. So make sure to be responsible when it comes to using cosplay contacts, even if it’s just for a few hours!