Federal warning for a Halloween costume accessory

Posted at 6:22 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 18:22:13-04

“The cat eyes, the white ones that make you look like you’re blind, the black ones that make you look like you’re insidious when you can’t see their eyes at all,” said Debbi Reck, owner of Make Believin’ Costumes in York Township, York County.

Experts tell FOX 43the risk is typically not worth it when it comes to these lenses and the FTC is warning consumers that you shouldn’t be buying the accessory without a valid prescription from your eye doctor.

Reck says every week, she has dozens of people coming into the store asking for costume contacts.

“They do not want to get contacts from a store like me. They need to see an eye care professional.”

Reck doesn’t sell the lenses at her store.

She says it’s because she’s heard the horror stories of what can happen if you wear contacts without the proper care like permanently damaging your vision.

“It’s really not worth looking cool for a couple hours to get a raging infection and or possibly blindness.”

Christianne Schoedel is an eye doctor in York County.

She says her office spends time fitting patients with contacts and then she spends even more time teaching patients how to properly use the lenses.

The doctor says it’s all about safety.

“If you put a contact lens in your eye, especially one that doesn’t fit properly, you can restrict basically the nourishment for the cornea,” said Schoedel.

You can also end up with a nasty infection like pink eye, scratches or sores on your cornea and, in some extreme cases, blindness.

Some of the costume contacts are FDA-approved, but you’re only supposed to buy them with a valid prescription.

That means you had an eye test and the doctor wrote your script within the last year.

Schoedel says she’s rarely seen people come in for decorative contacts prescription.

“Maybe one or two in my whole career.”

The doctor does say even if you get a prescription, you may still have some itchy eyes.

That’s because the designs are usually painted on the contact, which is different from the ones you would wear every day and that paint can restrict oxygen to the cornea.

She also says those itchy eyes are a sign that you should take the lenses out.

“They might be a little self-regulating in that way.”

If the contacts drama puts a damper on your Halloween look, the owner of Make Believin’ has some other suggestions of what to add to your costume.

“Makeup skills are screaming these days. You can do so much. Wigs are wonderful.”

If you still want a different look for your eyes, she says try a photo filter, at least for the pictures you post on social media.

“I’m waiting for Instagram to come out with some kind of  filter that will make your eyes look cool anyhow when you take a picture,” said Reck.

If you try to buy those contact lenses online, most well-known Halloween stores will require you to add your eye doctors information or a copy of your prescription.

However, there are websites where you can order the contacts without any sizing or prescription information.

Those are the websites the FTC is urging you to not buy from.