Special Effects/Theatrical Contact Lenses
What You Should Know
Zombies, vampires, snake eyes, smiley faces—even completely black or white contact lenses are growing in popularity. Whether you are nearsighted or farsighted, have been diagnosed with astigmatism or just want to stand out from the crowd, theatrical (FX) lenses are not just for movie stars anymore.
Keep in mind, however, that even though these “eye-catching” lenses are designed in the spirit of fun, an eye exam and fitting from your eye care professional is required. They are not a one-size-fits-all commodity. Further, it is illegal to purchase such lenses without a prescription, even if you have 20/20 vision and do not require corrective eyewear.
According to Dr. Randall Fuerst, the chairperson of the American Optometric Association, “Consumers, who purchase lenses illegally, without a prescription or without consultation from an eye doctor, put themselves at risk for serious bacterial infections, allergic reactions, or even significant damage to the eye’s ability to function, with the potential for irreversible sight loss.”
Moreover, Acta Ophthalmology recently published an article with findings that those who wear theatrical contact lenses suffer a marked increase in the risk of microbial keratitis, a severe and sight threatening ocular disease.
Having said that, don’t purchase your FX contact lenses from a flea market, anonymous online distributors or anyone aside from your eye care professional. Who knows whether they are sterile, expired, or previously worn?
As with all contact lenses, it is crucial that you keep them clean and sterile, and always wash your hands before handling them.