Beware of novelty contact lenses this Halloween

Monday, 28 October, 2019

Beware of novelty contact lenses this Halloween

Halloween party-goers and trick-or-treaters planning to wear novelty contact lenses should be aware of their potential dangers say experts from Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in the UK. If bought and used incorrectly, the lenses could have long-term consequences on eyesight and eye health.

In Australia, novelty contact lenses sold over the counter or online without a prescription are rarely accompanied with enough advice about how to use and store contact lenses safely and the lenses aren’t made to fit an individual’s eye shape.

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital Badrul Hussain said, “We often see patients, including children under 16, who have developed eye conditions, such as corneal abrasions and, more seriously, infections after wearing cosmetic contact lenses.

“I have come across patients sharing lenses with friends, wearing lenses past their expiry date and storing them in tap water — all of these can have devastating effects.

“Most patients who have bought novelty lenses haven’t been shown how to use them safely. Not knowing the basics of using contact lenses properly can increase your risk of developing painful eye injuries, infections and, in the worst cases, risk of permanent sight loss,” Hussain said.

“The cornea, the clear window at the front of the eye, is delicate and can be scratched easily by inexperienced contact lens wearers. This can expose the eye to organisms that can cause nasty infections, which in extreme cases can result in permanently impaired, or loss of, vision.”

Moorfields is sharing the following advice for anyone planning to wear cosmetic contact lenses this Halloween:

  • Make sure a registered optician checks the lenses fit safely.
  • Always thoroughly wash and dry your hands before touching your eye.
  • Do not sleep in your contact lenses.
  • Never let other people try on your contact lenses.
  • Never let lenses come into contact with water, such as in the shower, bath, hot tub, sauna or swimming pool.

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