Whether you’re going to a convention or streaming on Twitch or Mixer, you may want to use contacts to bring your cosplay to the next level. It is important, however, to use FDA-approved prescription lenses to prevent any potential damage to your eyes.
Are Cosplay Contacts Safe?
Cosplay contacts are safe if they are properly prescribed by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor), sourced from a reputable provider, are properly cared for, and are worn properly. Using unprescribed, dirty, or damaged contacts is not safe and not recommended.
Damage Caused By Unprescribed Cosplay Contacts
Wearing unprescribed contacts can lead to physical damage to your eyes. In 2005, it was estimated that contact lenses accounted for 23% of pediatric emergency care. Improper care or unprescribed lenses can lead to the following:
- Pain or irritation on the inside of your eye
- Extreme “redness” of the eye
- Corneal abrasions, scratching or tearing of the eye
- Severe infections can lead to possible blindness.
Even with a prescription, it is always important to take care of your contacts and take care that they are pristine and undamaged. In 2016, a cosplayer from Houston accidentally damaged his eye because his girlfriend recently spayed hairspray in the same room and he got some on his hands.
It is important to note that most of the damage caused by contacts is fast-acting and doesn’t gradually show up. You can’t just “try something for a while” to see if there are problems.
How to Get a Cosplay Contact Prescription
The only safe way to get a contact prescription is by visiting an eye doctor, regardless of how good your vision is. There are a number of things that can go wrong when wearing any sort of unprescribed contact lense. Even if they are perfectly made and “safe,” an improper fit with your eyes could cause damage.
All eyes are unique and will require a different lens size or thickness. Even though they are marketed as such, there really isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” lens. Many ophthalmologists work with cosplayers and are able to match you with a prescription that will suit your needs.
In the end, it is important to stay safe. Don’t compromise the safety of the eyes that allow you to enjoy the beauty of cosplay. If seeing a doctor for a prescription breaks the bank, then choose to go without.
Where to Get Prescription Cosplay Lenses
Once you have a proper prescription, you can purchase lenses from a reputable FDA-approved source. Here are three places online that you can get beautiful colored lenses:
- LensPure – LensPure offers several colored lenses with variations. You should be able to find the perfect color to accompany your cosplay.
- Crazy Lenses – With dozens of colors and varieties available, you’ll want to make use of their sidebar sorting system to find your perfect lenses.
- Honey color – Honeycolor offers contacts with several different colors and patterns. If you are looking for a unique design your outfit, check out their products.
How to Properly Care for Your Prescribed Cosplay Contacts
Here are a few general tips on how you can care for your prescription cosplay contacts:
Note: this isn’t a complete guide and I am not an eye doctor. Make sure to speak to your ophthalmologist and read your lens instructions carefully before use.
Only Use Cosplay Contacts For a Safe Amount of Time
If you have never worn contact lenses before, you may want to wear your prescription lenses a few times before your event. It takes time to get used to having something in your eye. When you are streaming or going to a convention, you want your focus on something other than your eyes feeling uncomfortable.
Additionally, contact lenses should be worn for only a certain number of hours at a time. These may vary depending on the brand. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
Discard your lenses if they are damaged or have reached their expiration date. Most decent pairs will last for 2-3 years if they aren’t worn frequently. Follow the instructions given with the lenses.
Never Sleep in Cosplay Contacts
Contacts cover your eye’s cornea and reduce the amount of oxygen that can reach your eyes through the environment. Sleeping while wearing your contacts will deprive your eyes of the oxygen they need to stay healthy. In 2019, a woman caused severe damage to her eyes from sleeping in unprescribed cosplay contacts. Prioritize the health of your eyes by ensuring that you use the best products in a healthy way.
Clean Cosplay Contacts Properly
Read the label on your contact lenses box for the proper cleaning instructions. Make sure to keep the saline solution and lens cleaner separate. Clean them thoroughly after each use and make sure to rinse them with saline solution before reapplying them to your eyes.
Storage for Cosplay Contacts
Store cosplay contacts in a contact case containing lens solution. Be sure to change the solution as often as recommended (generally between 1-3 months) even if you haven’t worn the lenses.
Can You Share Cosplay Contacts?
Never share cosplay contacts with anyone. If you are wondering if you can safely save some money by using a friend’s prescribed contacts, think again. Using a friend’s contact (or sharing yours with them) is unsanitary and can lead to bacterial infections and other issues.
Every eye is different. Your friend’s contacts were created for their eyes, not yours. Even if the contacts are perfect, never been used, and were cared for properly, using lenses that are the wrong size for you can cause problems. Your eyes are not worth the risk.
Can You Legally Buy Unprescribed Cosplay Contacts?
It is actually illegal in the United States to sell unprescribed cosplay contacts. If you run across a vendor (or website) who does, stay clear of them (and report them!). They don’t have the health of your eyes in mind.
Selling unprescribed contacts is illegal due to the many risks involved. Many have caused damage that requires expensive surgeries to repair (if repairable). If a contact company is not FDA-approved, there is nothing stopping them from selling anything they want. You don’t know if something is mislabeled or worse: manufactured or packaged incorrectly. Some may have already been used and returned.
Your Eyes Aren’t Worth the Risk
Protect your eyes while you cosplay, whether you are at a convention or streaming for your fans. Practice safety precautions to ensure that your contacts won’t hurt your eyes. Don’t risk your vision by using products that could be unsanitary or an imperfect fit. The risk is not worth the reward.