Cosmetic & novelty contact lenses

Non-prescription novelty and cosmetic contact lenses can cause eye infections or permanent damage if not used correctly. Make sure you have your lenses professionally fitted and that you follow care and maintenance instructions.

About cosmetic and novelty contact lenses

Non-prescription novelty and cosmetic contact lenses alter the appearance of the eye and have no therapeutic or medical benefit. They are also commonly known as coloured lenses, crazy lenses, fancy lenses and fashion lenses.

Risks and injuries

Novelty contact lenses can cause cornea damage and loss of sight if not fitted properly. Eye infections can occur if the lenses are not thoroughly sterilised prior to each use.

Factors identified as increasing the potential for harm from non-prescribed contact lenses include:

  • having a pre-existing ocular condition
  • using contact lenses that are inappropriate for an individual’s eyes
  • failing to care for and maintain the lenses hygienically
  • using an inappropriate care solution
  • failing to replace contact lenses according to the appropriate schedule
  • swapping lenses between wearers
  • wearing the lenses for longer than recommended.

Buying tips

  • Be aware that novelty contact lenses do not have any therapeutic or medical benefit and therefore are not regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

  • Have a professional eye examination to identify any pre-existing conditions that may increase the likelihood of novelty contact lenses damaging your eyes. Some Australian states require a prescription from an optometrist or doctor to purchase these items.

  • Have your contact lenses professionally fitted and ask for a training session on how to correctly handle the lenses.

Safe use

  • Treat novelty and cosmetic contact lenses exactly as you would treat prescription lenses.
  • Follow care and maintenance instructions.
  • Do not share your contact lenses with others.
  • Do not keep the lenses in your eyes for too long (if unsure, ask your optometrist).

  • Get regular professional eye examinations.

  • Visit Optometrists Association of Australia for more information about caring for contact lenses.