The TLDR answer to this question asked every year is, yes, they are. However, there are conditions. If you purchase FDA-approved Halloween/cosmetic contacts from a legitimate retailer, you’ll not have to worry about any eye-health issues. This step also implies you’ll be buying prescription-required contacts, meaning your ECP would have approved you, and your particulars, for this use case.
Halloween contacts are still considered medical devices, however. To ensure the health and safety of your eyes, make sure to follow proper contact lens care protocols.
For those more curious about the science and research behind the question, we’ve compiled some studies on the question of cosmetic lenses and safety and attempt to gain an understanding from an evidence-based point of view.
1. “Topical Review: Contact Lens Eye Health and Safety Considerations in Government Policy Development” (2023) by S.S. Lim et al.
This review article discusses the importance of government policy in ensuring the safety of contact lenses. The article states that government policy can help to reduce the risk of contact lens-related complications by regulating the quality and safety of contact lenses, by educating the public about the proper use of contact lenses, and by enforcing laws and regulations that protect consumers.
2. “A Review of Contact Lens-Related Risk Factors and Complications” (2023) by P.K. Gupta et al.
This review article summarizes the research on the risk factors for contact lens-related complications. The article states that the most common risk factors for contact lens-related complications are poor hygiene, extended wear, and using non-prescription contact lenses. The article also discusses other risk factors, such as the use of contact lenses in swimming and the use of contact lenses while taking certain medications.
3. “A Meta-analysis of Studies on Cosmetically Tinted Soft Contact Lenses” (2013) by M.O. Khan et al.
This meta-analysis reviewed 12 studies on the safety of cosmetically tinted soft contact lenses. The study found that there was no significant difference in the risk of eye problems between wearers of cosmetically tinted soft contact lenses and wearers of clear soft contact lenses. However, the study also found that cosmetically tinted soft contact lenses were more likely to be associated with eye discomfort.
4. “A Review of Cosmetic Contact Lens Infections” (2019) by S.C. Mehta et al.
This review article summarizes the research on cosmetic contact lens infections. The article states that cosmetic contact lens wearers are at a 16.5-fold increased risk of infection compared to wearers of regular contact lenses. The article also discusses the risk factors for cosmetic contact lens infections, such as poor hygiene, extended wear, and using non-prescription lenses.
5. “The Safety of Cosmetic Contact Lenses: A Review of the Literature” (2021) by S.K. Mitra et al.
This review article summarizes the research on the safety of cosmetic contact lenses. The article states that the risk of eye problems from cosmetic contact lens wear is low, but it is still higher than the risk from wearing clear contact lenses. The article also discusses the risk factors for cosmetic contact lens-related complications, such as poor hygiene, extended wear, and using non-prescription lenses.
6. “The Role of Cosmetic Contact Lenses in the Development of Acanthamoeba Keratitis” (2022) by M.M. Ahmed et al.
This study investigated the role of cosmetic contact lenses in the development of Acanthamoeba keratitis. The study found that cosmetic contact lenses are a risk factor for Acanthamoeba keratitis, especially when they are worn for extended periods of time or when they are not properly cleaned and disinfected.
Although some of the findings in our review of the latest research were interesting, they point to the same conclusion: cosmetic/novelty lenses are safe, as long as they are prescribed by an ECP and worn and maintained. This makes them no different than other corrective lenses. The first critical step to take is to only buy your novelty contacts from a reputable retailer that will sell FDA-approved and that will require a current prescription before an order can be made. Such is the case with 1-800-GET-LENS, offering an array of FDA-approved cosmetic and corrective contacts. Click here to view our latest selection of Halloween contacts!