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Can Cosplay Contact Lenses Harm Your Eyes?

Cosplay contact lenses—or costume contacts—have become increasingly popular over the past couple of decades. They can change many elements of the eye, from its color to the shape of the pupil. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmologists, cosplay contacts cause many eye infections and injuries each year. 

Admittedly, this information is taken from anecdotal reports from eye doctors, as no comprehensive data has been gathered from official large-scale studies as of yet. However, this information from clinical professionals provides strong evidence that certain types of cosplay contact lenses can be damaging to the eyes.

When Cosplay Contact Lenses are Harmful—and When they’re Not…

  • Prescription cosplay contact lenses
  • Non-prescription cosplay contact lenses
  • How can cosplay contact lenses harm your eyes?

Prescription cosplay contact lenses

The most important thing to understand about cosplay contact lenses is this:

The only safe type to wear are prescription lenses.

Let’s be very clear about this… Only a prescription that is personal to you is safe to wear. It’s important to remember that contact lenses are medical devices that are only prescribed after an eye doctor has:

  1. Examined your eyes.
  2. Determined that you are a suitable candidate for contact lenses.
  3. Created a prescription that is personal to you—and you only.
  4. Explained to you the safe procedure to insert, wear, take out, and care for the lenses.
  5. Bought from a provider who only sells FDA-approved contact lenses and requires a prescription to sell them.

Non-prescription cosplay contact lenses

Non-prescription cosplay contact lenses aren’t just dangerous to use, they’re also illegal. If you’re told that you don’t require a prescription or that the contacts on offer fit all sizes, then this is against the law. They aren’t FDA-approved and represent a serious risk to your eye health.

How can cosplay contact lenses harm your eyes?

Despite being strictly regulated, there are still many non-prescription, non-FDA registered, so-called “one-size-fits-all” costume contact lenses around. These include some that can be found online. You might also hear them referred to as theatrical contact lenses.

The risks of wearing them are many and include:

  • Corneal abrasions and ulcers: This is because they haven’t been designed to fit your eye and can cause cuts and scratches. Any wound to the surface of the eye has the potential to become infected.
  • Keratitis: A group of conditions that all cause painful inflammation of the cornea. Bacteria introduced to the eye through improper use of contacts can lead to what is one of the leading causes of blindness in the USA.
  • Reduced oxygen to the eye: Poorly made cosplay lenses often use thicker materials and hazardous paints and pigments. This potentially reduces the level of oxygen that the eye receives.
  • Other eye infections: Caused by poor hygiene.
  • Cataracts: A condition that causes vision to deteriorate and can lead to blindness.
  • Glaucoma: Where the natural drainage system within the eye begins to fail, causing the intra-eye pressure to rise. Again, this can lead to total loss of vision.

While many of the above are treatable, ophthalmologists are seeing increasingly higher numbers of people suffering irreversible damage from the use of illegal counterfeit cosplay lenses. Some of the small-scale surveys that have been carried out report very worrying findings, including:

Around 60% of cosplay lenses bought online were contaminated with harmful bacteria.

Around 33% of all costume contact-related injuries were seen in first- time users.

More than 85% of people purchasing illegal cosplay lenses use them with non-hygienic behaviors that raise their risk of infection.

These stats make for pretty scary reading. Therefore, if you want to wear costume contact lenses for any reason, it’s imperative to first consult with your eye doctor. After that, be sure to only purchase them from FDA-approved sellers who require a prescription.

Get the Best Advice about Safe Use of Cosplay Lenses at the WBEC

If you want to wear cosplay lenses, then the West Boca Eye Center can provide you with the right prescription to ensure you do so safely. We’ll also carry out your regular eye exams as per your age and visual needs to make sure that your eyes remain as healthy as possible as the years pass. 

Discover more about why the WBEC is consistently regarded as one of the premier eye clinics in the USA at

Can Cosplay Contact Lenses Harm Your Eyes?
Can Cosplay Contact Lenses Harm Your Eyes?

Cosplay contact lenses—or costume contacts—have become increasingly popular over the past couple of decades.

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Specializing in modern cataract surgery.

Located 1/2 miles North of West Boca Medical Center on Glades Road, directly behind Macy's Furniture Gallery.

West Boca Eye Center
9325 Glades Road, Suite 201.
Boca Raton, FL 33434

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