With Halloween fast approaching, it’s important to know that many Halloween contact lenses are unregulated and illegal and can cause serious eye health complications with wearers at risk of corneal ulcers or abrasions, eye infections and even blindness. One eye expert in 10 has seen a patient with eye problems after wearing novelty contact lenses.
To help prevent any unnecessary issues, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) offers advice for buying and wearing contact lenses safely – as thousands choose spooky eye wear as a finishing touch to their costume.
- Get your lenses fitted by a professional, not the Internet
If they are not fitted and cared for properly, contact lenses carry a risk of eye infections, causing blindness in some rare cases. It’s not worth putting your eyes at risk, so get the best advice and make sure your contact lenses are fitted by an eye care professional.
- Like swapping gruesome germs?
We didn’t think so. Never share or swap contact lenses with anyone else – the chances of getting a nasty infection, such as bacterial conjunctivitis, is much more likely. This can make eyes uncomfortable, pink or red, and create a yellow or green sticky discharge, and has the potential to lead to corneal ulcers, corneal scarring and blindness.
- Can you trust the supplier?
Novelty lenses are often available in joke and fancy-dress shops and can be purchased online but these suppliers are often unregulated. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without the supervision of a registered professional like an optometrist or contact lens optician because of the risk to your eyes.
- Don’t keep lenses in all night, or you’ll wake up with a fright
Unless specifically designed for extended use, contact lenses should not be worn overnight. Not only can extended use increase the risk of eye infections, it can starve your eye of oxygen and cause the lens to bind itself to the front of your eye.
- Keep lenses clean but never with water
When wearing any type of contact lenses, make sure they are clean by using the recommended contact lens solution. Never use tap water to clean lenses because this can lead to serious, and potentially blinding, eye conditions. And always wash and dry your hands before inserting your lenses.
- Don’t re-use your lenses, they’re better as a one-night stand
You should never re-use contact lenses unless they are speciﬁcally designed for repeat wear, as it increases the likelihood of infections and keratitis which is a very painful inflammation of the cornea. Re-useable lenses must be kept in fresh contact lens solution, in a clean contact lens case too.
- Put your lenses in before putting your face on
If your costume involves a full face of make-up remember to apply it after putting your contact lenses in.
- If in doubt, take them out
If you suffer from any redness, irritation, swelling, pain or an aversion to light, remove your lenses immediately. Consult an optometrist or contact lens optician for advice as soon as possible.