With Halloween 2021 just around the corner, many of us have already planned and prepared our spooky costumes.
But as we lay out our face paints and fake blood ready for the big day, eye experts have issued a stark reminder that wearing novelty contact lenses this Halloween could do you more harm than good.
Halloween fashion lenses can bring a unique touch to most costumes, but Optometrist Roshni Patel – who is the Professional Services Manager at Lenstore – has said they can be risky if you select the wrong ones or don’t know how to use them.
She said: “Coloured contact lenses can be safe provided they’re sold by a reputable source, and you have consulted with your optician to get the correct prescription for them.
“While basic colours are frequently available from opticians or prescription lens sellers, Halloween lenses often come with greater risk.”
Roshni insisted the main problem with fashion lenses is their sizing – because they don’t take into account the shape of your eyes like prescription ones do.
She added: “One of the main concerns with Halloween fashion lenses is the risk of incorrect sizing. When medical lenses are prescribed, factors such as the shape of the eye are taken into account to help select the correct lens for the wearer – but Halloween lenses are often available only in one size, meaning they may fit incorrectly.
“Because of the design, they may also affect vision as the opaque lenses could cover the pupil and obstruct your eyesight. These then cause discomfort as they can be overly tight or too loose-fitting on the eye, which can also lead to irritation and infection.”
And there’s also a risk of irritation if the fashion lenses you buy are made out of cheaper materials than prescription lenses.
Roshni said: “Fashion lenses may also be made out of cheaper, less breathable materials, which can cause the eye to dry out and again become irritated if left in for longer periods of time.
“In addition to the problems with the lenses themselves, many who use them are not regular contact lens wearers and aren’t aware of how to use them properly, leading to difficulty putting them in or taking them out, and in some cases, leaving them on too long.”
The eye specialist also detailed her own first-hand experience in dealing with a patient who had worn Halloween lenses for the first time.
She explained: “I have only ever seen one patient who has worn Halloween fashion lenses, and unfortunately I remember seeing him first thing in the morning as an emergency.
He had never worn contact lenses before but decided to order these lenses for a themed party. He had tried removing them a number of times and in the end, went to sleep in them.
“When I saw him the next morning, even I struggled to remove them – they were so tightly fitted and he was in so much discomfort. On examination of his eyes, after removal, there was a lot of corneal swelling and his vision had dropped as a result. Luckily, this can resolve over time, but things could have been a lot worse.
“The issue partly occurred as the lens was too tight for him from the offset – a poorly fitted contact lens can cause a lot of issues on the eye.”
Thankfully the man was okay, but Roshni says he could have run into more problems if he’d chosen to clean the lenses via the website’s instructions.
She added: “What was most alarming was that the website he ordered them from was promoting saline to clean the lenses. Saline should never be used in this way as it can’t fight against bacteria and viruses, increasing the risk of infections.”
If you are planning on using fashion lenses in your costume this Halloween, make sure you follow these guidelines to keep your eyes safe:
- Choose lenses from trusted vendors who use quality materials
- Consult with an optician before ordering lenses.
- Ensure your hands are clean and dry when handling your lenses
- Never go to sleep in your contact lenses
Image Credit: Getty
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