Is It Safe To Wear Decorative Contact Lenses?

Decorative contact lenses, also known as colored or costume contact lenses, are not just cosmetics or over-the-counter merchandise. They are ocular prosthetic devices that change the appearance of your eyes. Used by over 150 million people worldwide, these lenses can be worn to correct vision, used for aesthetic reasons, or even for therapeutic purposes. The primary purpose of decorative contact lenses is to intensify or alter the color of your eyes, adding a unique touch to your overall look.

There’s a variety of decorative contact lenses available today, with increasingly sophisticated manufacturing methods producing more realistic colored contact lens options. Some lenses completely transform the eye color while others merely enhance the existing color. You’ll find lenses that add special effects, perfect for costumes or cosplay, while others are designed to mimic the eyes of your favorite film or TV characters.

At TGH Urgent Care powered by FastTrack, we understand the allure of decorative contact lenses. They can add that extra sparkle to your eyes or help you achieve the perfect look for a costume party; however, we also know that eye health should never be compromised for aesthetics.

Decorative contact lenses, while fun and trendy, are not just accessories. They’re medical devices that require a prescription. Without proper fitting and care, these lenses can cause serious eye issues. That’s why at TGH Urgent Care, we strongly recommend getting a professional consultation before using any type of contact lens.

Popularity and Uses of Decorative Contact Lenses

1. Use in the Fashion Industry

As the demand for personalized fashion grows, decorative contact lenses are becoming increasingly popular. They’re not just a tool for vision correction but a sought-after aesthetic accessory. With their ability to alter or enhance eye color, they have become a staple in the fashion industry, adding another layer of depth to personal style.2.

2. Use in Film and Television

Decorative contact lenses have also carved out a significant niche in film and television. From turning actors into otherworldly creatures to creating subtle changes in appearance, these lenses play an essential role in character development and storytelling. Popular brands like Acuvue Oasys for Presbyopia with Transitions, Air Optix Colors Multifocal, and FreshLook have been utilized to bring characters to life.

3. Use during Holidays and Festivals

Decorative lenses see a surge in usage during holidays and festivals, particularly Halloween, where they’re used to enhance costumes and create dramatic looks; however, it’s important to remember that even during these times, safety should never be compromised. These lenses, though popular, can cause harm if not used correctly.

Risks Associated with Decorative Contact Lenses

1. Potential Eye Infections

While decorative contact lenses can be a fun way to change your eye color or create a dramatic look, they’re not without risks. One of the major concerns is the potential for eye infections. Wearing costume contact lenses can lead to serious conditions like keratitis, a potentially blinding infection that causes an ulcer on the eye. The FDA also warns that wearing contact lenses can irritate the eyes and lead to pink eye (conjunctivitis), corneal infections, and other complications.

2. Possible Allergic Reactions

Another risk associated with decorative contact lenses is the possibility of allergic reactions. Some people may be sensitive to the materials used in the lenses or the chemicals used for coloring. These can seep into your eye, leading to discomfort, inflammation, and possible vision loss.

3. Risk of Corneal Abrasion

Decorative contact lenses can also pose a risk of corneal abrasion. Ill-fitting lenses can scrape the outer layer of your eye, known as the cornea. This can lead to corneal scratches, severe irritation, corneal ulcers, or even scarring. The dye and printed patterns on the lenses can further exacerbate this risk.

Safety Measures When Using Decorative Contact Lenses

1. Importance of Proper Fitting

Just as with regular prescription contact lenses, decorative contact lenses must be properly fitted to your eyes. Ill-fitting lenses can cause discomfort, blurred vision, redness, infection, and, in severe cases, conditions like corneal abrasion. Therefore, it’s crucial to have an eye examination and a proper lens fitting from a qualified eye care professional before using these lenses.

2. Importance of Proper Cleaning and Storage

Proper cleaning and storage of your decorative contact lenses are essential in preventing eye infections. Always wash and rinse your hands before handling your lenses. Use the recommended lens solution for cleaning and storing, and never use saliva or water. The lens case should also be cleaned regularly and replaced every three months to prevent bacterial growth.

3. Necessity of Regular Eye Examinations

Regular eye examinations are necessary when using decorative contact lenses. These check-ups allow your eye care professional to ensure that the lenses are not causing any damage to your eyes. They also provide an opportunity for you to address any discomfort or vision changes. Remember, even if you’re using the lenses purely for cosmetic purposes, they’re still considered medical devices and should be treated as such.

Legal Aspects of Decorative Contact Lenses

1. FDA Regulations

Decorative contact lenses are not just fashion accessories; they’re classified as medical devices and are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Whether they correct vision or not, all contact lenses require a prescription from a licensed eye care professional. This regulation is in place to ensure safety and prevent potential harm to the eyes. The FDA oversees the safety and effectiveness of these lenses and has the authority to take action against illegal sales or misuse.

2. Buying Decorative Contact Lenses: Dos and Don’ts


  • Get a prescription from a licensed eye care professional: Even if you don’t need vision correction, a prescription is necessary for all contact lenses, including decorative ones. This ensures that the lenses fit correctly and are safe for your eyes.
  • Follow the instructions for cleaning and storing your lenses: Proper care can prevent serious eye infections. This includes washing and drying your hands before handling lenses, using fresh solutions each time you clean them, and replacing the lens case every three months.
  • Report any issues with your lenses to the FDA’s MedWatch program: If you experience any problems with your decorative contact lenses, it’s important to report your issue. This can help the FDA identify and address safety concerns.


  • Don’t buy lenses from street vendors, beauty supply stores, or online platforms that don’t require a prescription: These sources often sell lenses that haven’t been approved by the FDA, making them illegal and potentially dangerous. Always buy from a reputable source that requires a prescription.
  • Don’t wear lenses longer than recommended: Overwearing lenses can lead to discomfort, redness, and potentially serious eye conditions. Always follow the wearing schedule prescribed by your eye care professional.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Yes, but only if they are prescribed by a licensed eye care professional. Even though they’re often marketed as cosmetics, they’re actually medical devices and need to be treated as such.

Yes, regardless of whether they correct vision or not, you should always get a prescription for any type of contact lens. A prescription

This varies depending on the type of lens. Some can be worn daily and replaced after a month, while others are designed for single use. Always follow the instructions given by your eye care professional.

No, sharing contact lenses can spread harmful bacteria and potentially lead to serious eye infections or damage.

Remove the lenses immediately and consult your eye care professional. They can examine your eyes and determine if there’s an underlying issue.

Just like regular contact lenses, they need to be cleaned and stored properly to prevent infection. Always wash your hands before handling lenses and use the disinfecting solution recommended by your eye care professional.

Final Thoughts on Decorative Contact Lenses

Decorative contact lenses can be a fun way to change your look, but it’s important to remember that they’re not without risks. Improper use and care of these lenses can lead to complications such as bacterial or viral infections, allergic reactions, corneal abrasions, and even permanent changes to the eye. Some non-prescription lenses may contain chemicals known to be toxic to human tissue, which can seep into your eyes and potentially cause vision loss.

On the other hand, when used correctly and under the supervision of an eye care professional, decorative lenses can be a safe and enjoyable accessory. They allow you to experiment with different eye colors and styles and can be a fun addition to a costume or special outfit.

Given the potential risks, it’s crucial to consult with a licensed eye care professional before using decorative contact lenses. They can provide a proper fitting and prescription, advise on safe practices, and monitor for any signs of complications. Remember, your vision is precious! Don’t take unnecessary risks with it. Always prioritize your eye health, even when it comes to decorative accessories like colored lenses.At TGH Urgent Care powered by FastTrack, we couldn’t agree more with the importance of professional consultation when it comes to using decorative contact lenses. As an urgent care facility, we’ve seen firsthand the complications that can arise from improper use of these accessories.

To provide you with convenient access to quality healthcare, we are open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week. You can visit any of our Tampa, FL, area locations on a first-come, first-served basis, or if you’d prefer to minimize your wait time, you can sign in ahead of your visit using our On My Way system.



The blogs presented by TGH Urgent Care in partnership with Fast Track are not a replacement for medical care and are exclusively intended for educational purposes. The content provided here should not be construed as medical guidance. If you are encountering any symptoms, we strongly recommend that you seek an appointment with a duly qualified medical practitioner at our nearest facility.

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