While non-prescription contact lenses in bizarre colors and imprinted designs may add an extra touch of Halloween spirit to your costume, they may also damage your eyes, according to a statement by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and reported by HealthDay News.

“Many people believe that decorative lenses don’t require the same level of care or consideration because they can be purchased over the counter or on the Internet,” said Thomas Steinemann, MD, a professor of ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve lensesUniversity in Cleveland.

Decorative lenses are usually sold as accessories and often advertised as one-size-fits-all, with little or no information for use or care. But these claims are false.

“In fact, permanent eye damage can occur from using over-the-counter lenses,” Steinmann said. “Any type of contact lens is a medical device that requires a prescription and proper fitting by an eye-care professional.”

To avoid contact lens problems, patients must have eye-care professionals carefully measure their eyes to ensure a proper fit. A bad fit can scratch the eye’s surface and cause blood vessel growth in the cornea.

In addition, even disposable short-use lenses must be cleaned and disinfected. Otherwise, trouble can result. “I have seen too many serious cases in both children and adults from using decorative lenses,” Steinemann said.

Consumers who experience decorative contact lens problems should report the issue to their local FDA consumer complaint coordinator.

Eye health is an important and often overlooked part of a comprehensive health routine. Click here to learn more about what an eye exam could reveal about your health.