Halloween contact lens. Iowans who wear cosmetic contact lenses for their Halloween costumes could be risking blindness if those lenses haven’t been checked over by a professional.

Various websites and theatrical shops offer colored cat’s eye or serpent eye lenses, but West Des Moines optometrist Mandy Mataya says they can be extremely hazardous.

Mataya says, “The risk of wearing a contact lens without having it properly evaluated is that it can cause a severe infection to the eye or mechanical damage to the surface of the cornea or even inflamatory events can happen.” In a worst case situation, she says there can be permanent vision loss.

Dr. Mataya says there are several things an eyecare professional will check to make sure the lens is safe for extended wear. She says: “We evaluate if the contact fits too tight or if it may be too loose on the eye or if it completely covers your corneal tissue, as well as if it’s providing enough oxygen and moisture to the eye. Everyone’s eyes are unique so the contact you put on that eye, we need to make sure that’s a correct match for you.”

While the decorative Halloween lenses aren’t corrective, Mataya says your should still order them with a prescription.

“I can order these contacts in for you and then we’ll evaluate that contact on your eye and make sure that you’ll have a safe and happy wearing experience with that contact,” she says. Buying the cosmetic lenses through an optometrist will also assure you get the proper instructions on how to clean the lenses, and how best to insert and remove them.