Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Save your eyes

I’m old enough to remember the release of Michael Jackson’s full-length Thriller video, which featured a shocking scene at the end when he turned around and showed the camera his cat eyes.

Especially during Halloween season, eye doctors are warning us that cosmetic contact lenses, like the ones Jackson wore to give him the slivered pupils of a cat, can cause “serious, potentially blinding eye injuries.”

Cosmetic contact lenses (those worn without a prescription) were outlawed in 2005, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. But special effects contact lenses are sold in shops and online.

The Virginia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons and the American Academy of Ophthalmology warn that cosmetic contact lenses can cause cuts and sores in the protective layer of the iris and pupil and “potentially blinding painful bacterial infections” known as keratitis.

How can you safety wear decorative contact lenses this Halloween? Only buy them from an eye care professional selling FDA-approved products, and, even if you have perfect vision, get an eye exam and prescription for properly fitting contacts.

Find more on cosmetic contact lens safety at