Monday, October 22, 2012

Loyola Optometrist Warns not to Wear Tinted Contact Lenses for Halloween without a Prescription

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Decorative tinted contact lenses will be popular accessories this Halloween, but a Loyola University Medical Center optometrist is warning that improper use could cause severe eye damage.

"Contact lenses should never be worn without a prescription from a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist," said Peter Russo, OD, director of the Contact Lens Program at Loyola University Medical Center. “In fact, it is against the law to sell decorative contact lenses without a prescription."

Non-prescription Halloween contacts come in such colors as white zombie, red vampire and "sexy sapphire." They are sold illegally in beauty shops, costume stores and over the Internet.

Many buyers are teenagers and young adults. When purchased without a prescription, these lenses may not be fitted properly, and buyers usually do not receive proper instruction on how to care for and wear contacts. Users might, for example, use the wrong solution, share with a friend, wear improperly, fail to disinfect or use tap water rather than contact lens solution, Russo said.

Improper use can cause inflammation and infections, making eyes red and painful. Even when these complications are treated, there's still a risk that scar tissue could permanently impair vision and require a corneal transplant, Russo said.

"Even when worn for a relatively short period of time, such as during a Halloween party, decorative contact lenses can damage eyes if not used properly," Russo said. "They may seem like a lot of fun, but they're not worth the risk. Never wear a contact lens, whether for vision correction or for decoration, without a prescription."

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.