While wacky contact lenses may seem like the perfect compliment for a Halloween costume, they can be dangerous. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, wearing such lenses could result in permanent vision loss.

The organization states that while purchasing contacts without a prescription has been illegal since 2005, many such cosmetic contact lenses are currently being sold in stores and online.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has these guidelines for those looking to safely wear cosmetic contact lenses for Halloween or the rest of the year:

  • Only buy decorative contact lenses from an eye care professional such as an ophthalmologist or a retailer that requires a prescription and sells FDA-approved products.
  • If you don't already have a contact lens prescription, obtain a valid prescription and eye exam from an ophthalmologist or optometrist, a health care professional who provides primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment and management of vision changes.
  • Even for those with perfect vision, an eye exam and prescription are mandatory in order to fit the right size contacts. Do not fall victim to false advertising claims and lenses labeled as "one size fits all" or "no need to see an eye specialist."
  • Follow the directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses. Contacts that are left in for too long or that are not properly cleaned and disinfected can significantly increase the risk of an eye infection.
  • Never share contact lenses with another person or wear expired lenses.
  • If you notice redness, swelling, excessive discharge, pain or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses and seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist. Eye infections like keratitis can quickly become serious and cause blindness if left untreated.