Top Ophthalmologist Steven Siepser, M.D., Says Don't Get Tricked This Halloween

Eye Expert Warns Against the Danger of Special Effects Lenses

Oct 26, 2010, 00:08 ET from Siepser Laser Eyecare

WAYNE, Pa., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- With Halloween fast approaching, the season for scares and thrills is in full swing. As people gear up for trick-or-treating and Halloween parties, the sales for decorative contact lenses have increased. But, they come  with a price.

Decorative contact lenses have become increasingly popular for Halloween. The glow-in-the-dark-effects and animal prints are exciting to wearers. But the recent fad poses health risks, and these lenses can cause long-term damage to eyes, warns Steven Siepser, M.D., chief surgeon at Wayne, Pa.-based Siepser Laser Eyecare. "Without the prescription and proper fitting from an eye care professional, these lenses can cause permanent eye damage," Dr. Siepser says.

Buying decorative lenses without the supervision of an eye care professional is dangerous, and using them can lead to pain, inflammation and serious infections.

Dr. Siepser warns that online retailers often advertise decorative contacts as if they were cosmetics, fashion accessories or toys. Their whimsical packaging and clever names like Halo Eyes lure in consumers. Claims such as "one size fits all" and "No need to see an eye specialist" are false advertising.

"Using over-the-counter lenses can cause serious complications," says Dr. Siepser. "Lenses that do not properly fit may scratch the eyes or cause blood vessels to grow into the corneas."

To protect the eyes, Dr. Siepser recommends seeing an eye care professional who can assist with fitting, determining if a patient is a good candidate for lenses and demonstrating how to care for the lenses.  

And in fact, it is illegal to buy contact lenses without a prescription, he says.

Federal law classifies contact lenses as medical devices. In 2005, a federal law was passed that classified all contact lenses as medical devices and restricted their distribution to licensed eye care professionals.

Dr. Siepser also warns against sharing cosmetics, such as eyeliner, eye shadow or mascara.

"It is crucial that people wash their hands thoroughly before touching their eyes, use clean applicators for eye makeup, and avoid sharing cosmetics with others," he says.

Dr. Siepser is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and holds a Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Siepser has offices in Wayne and Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

Visit or contact Whitney Fitz-Maurice at 610-265-2020.

SOURCE Siepser Laser Eyecare