October is here and that means it’s time to start thinking about Halloween. You’ll need to find costumes and buy candy to pass out to the neighbors. And this Halloween we wanted to remind you to put safety first when you are choosing costumes.

Some people will purchase colored contacts to go with their costumes. If you are dressing up as a vampire, adding blood-red contacts can make for a nice finishing touch. However, these are often not safe and many people don’t take the necessary precautions when purchasing colored contacts.

Here are five ways you can protect your eyes this Halloween:

  • Consider the risks

We get it, zombie eyes are the perfect finishing touch for your Walking Dead costume. But seriously consider the risks involved before buying them. Improperly fitted contact could cause corneal abrasions, impaired vision, and in extreme cases, even blindness.

  • Get a prescription from your doctor

Even if you have perfect 20/20 vision, you should have an eye exam before wearing decorative contacts. Contacts are considered medical devices and cannot be purchased without a prescription. An eye doctor can make sure your contacts are the proper fit and prescription.

  • Never buy contacts over the internet or from a costume shop

Seriously, just don’t do it. Do you really want to put the safety of your eyes in the hands of the teenager behind the counter at Halloween City?

Buying contacts from an unlicensed source that don’t require a prescription greatly increase your risk for eye problems. There are horror stories of people experiencing pain and other negative side effects as a result of purchasing decorative contacts over the internet.

  • Take proper care of colored contacts

Do not share your contacts with anyone else. Sharing contacts can spread bacteria that can result in vision loss. Handle decorative contacts with the same care you would use with regular contacts.

  • See your doctor immediately if you experience any pain or discomfort

If your eyes become red or swollen or if you experience any pain you should see your eye doctor immediately. Don’t just assume it’s a temporary side-effect that will go away on its own. You only get one pair of eyes — take care of them.

For more information on Halloween safety, you can check out this article by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Or you can schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.