Doctors warn about costume pieces that are illegal or create allergic reactions sold online

Posted at 10:25 AM, Oct 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-30 18:03:43-04

A quick online search shows that contact lenses that make your eye color, or even your whole eye look different is available with just a click of a button. One of those clicks could land buyers in a world of pain or even blindness.

"My friends were getting it and they looked cute with it," said Mamie Gaye, talking about colored contacts to make her eyes sky blue.

Mamie Gaye speaks to News 5 over FaceTime from her home in New Jersey.

Soon after, Mamie had problems her friends didn't.

"I went to the hospital when I couldn't open my eyes," said Gaye. "Then my eyes got real red and it was a burning sensation."

"She was having trouble because the lenses didn't fit," said MetroHealth Ophthalmologist Dr. Thomas Steinemann.

Scratches on the eye put it at risk to let in bacteria, potentially causing ulcers or infections. (Photo: Dr. Thomas Steinemann)

Dr. Steinemann says even lenses that don't correct your vision still need to be fitted by an eye doctor. When they aren't, contacts can stick to your eye like a suction cup potentially cutting the eye and leading to infections or ulcers.

"That's not only painful, that is a threat to vision," said Dr. Steinemann. "You could go blind from that."

Wearing ill-fitting contacts just once can lead to damage that experts say could put vision at risk. (Photo: Dr. Thomas Steinemann)

Dr. Steinemann was part of an effort in the mid-2000s that outlawed selling contact lenses without a doctor's prescription. He says the law is nearly unenforceable because you can easily order them online.

Even if you're not about to put contacts in your eyes, Medical Director of Pediatric Emergency Departments at the Cleveland Clinic Purva Grover says more elaborate makeup is more common than it was years ago.

Much of that goes on kids who aren't used to wearing it and using materials they might have never had on their skin before. What's meant to be a fun night can quickly land trick-or-treaters in the emergency room.

Dr. Grover says ER doctors will also be helping children who eat too much Halloween candy. That includes children and teens with diabetes because of all the sugar in the candy.

"So they apply the face paint and all the aesthetics all over the fact and within hours, break into a really bad rash, reaching the point of difficulty breathing," said Dr. Grover.

She recommends testing out a small piece of makeup on a small part of your face just to see if there is any reaction while keeping the damage to a minimum.