Coloured contacts could cause more than a frightful sight for Hallowe’en goers this year, as opticians warn of the health risks of using novelty lenses.
Specsavers in Coleraine is urging consumers to practice caution if purchasing Hallowe’en contact lenses, both from the high street and online.
The risks involved in wearing these products without seeking guidance from an optician include numerous minor eye conditions - such as red eye, infections and scratches - as well as more serious complications that can, in severe cases, lead to sight loss.
Coleraine Specsavers Store Director Judith Ball, says: ‘Hallowe’en contact lenses have become incredibly popular in recent years, however consumers often are not aware of the risks associated with misusing contact lenses.
‘In particular, if a wearer hasn’t had a proper consultation with an optometrist beforehand, they probably haven’t been taught how to wear or care for their lenses correctly. The results can be nasty and range from mildly irritating complications, to potentially sight-threatening conditions such as fungal infections like Microbial Keratitis.’
In a bid to educate and steer consumers away from this risky trend, Specsavers in Northern Ireland is warning of the potential risks involved in misusing contact lenses, as well as guidance on what to do if problems occur as a result.
How to avoid a frightening mishap this Halloween
1. Seek guidance from your optician before using novelty contact lenses: Even if you don’t have any problems with your vision, it is crucial you have a comprehensive eye test to check the overall health of your eyes. Your optician can fit you with coloured contact lenses that are deemed safe to use and can also show you how to insert and remove them properly without damaging your eye.
2. Avoid purchasing cheap products online: You should be incredibly wary of buying from online sellers. If not fitted and used correctly these lenses could be harmful to your eyes. It’s worth investing more money in a pair from a qualified opticians that you know are safe to use.
3. Clean and store your lenses properly: Bacterial and fungal infections can occur when lenses are not cleaned or stored properly. Always avoid rinsing contact lenses with water and ensure you store in your lenses in a closed container with a proper solution, as opposed to a saline solution.
4. Do not fall asleep in your lenses: No matter how tired you are, falling asleep in your contact lenses is not a good idea. Sleeping in contact lenses which have not been specifically prescribed for overnight wear significantly increases the risk of nasty eye infections.
5. Never share contact lenses with other people: It might sound obvious, but sharing contact lenses with other people is a big no-no, even if they haven’t be worn. Using lenses that are not yours can spread bacteria, infections and dirt particles. The same goes for your Halloween make up - mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow shouldn’t be shared.
Judith continues: ‘If you do start to notice any discomfort, irritation or pain during or after wearing Halloween contact lenses it is important you visit an opticians immediately. Many of our Specsavers stores now offer eye health clinics where you can receive treatment for a range of minor eye conditions without needing to visit your GP or hospital.’