Many people believe that because cosmetic and coloured lenses are readily available from shops, stalls and websites in the lead-up to Halloween that they are safe, but they can pose some serious problems to eye health and vision. The cornea is a very sensitive tissue that can easily be damaged and scratched by inexperienced contact lens wearers. When the cornea is scratched, it is easy for bacteria and viruses to spread, which could cause irritation, swelling, discharge, and even sight-threatening infections and loss of vision.
On an even more serious note Dyes used in coloured cosmetic lenses, depending on their quality, can contain toxic heavy metals, including mercury and lead, which can leak into the wearer’s eye and nervous system. Halloween favourites like cat eyes and blackout lenses can reduce the wearer’s peripheral vision affecting mobility and balance, and would make driving extremely dangerous.
Hygienic insertion and removal is of utmost importance when it comes to contact lenses, As many cosmetic contact lens wearers aren’t used to hygienic insertion and removal techniques, this can lead to infections and complications.
The only way to make sure that cosmetic lenses are safe is to have them checked by an experienced optical professional. Contact lenses are not ‘one size fits all’ and should only be dispensed and fitted by qualified and General Optical Council-registered clinicians
If you are going to use contact lenses to complete your Halloween look this year, buy them from a reputable company and visit your local optometrist for advice before wearing them. Bear in mind that these lenses are only designed to be worn for a couple of hours, and take extreme care when inserting and removing them.
If you experience any difficulty, complications or side-effects from your Halloween lenses, please contact your local optometrist immediately.
TOP TIPS for halloween contact lens wear
Stop wearing the contacts if your eyes become irritated or you experience persistent discomfort.
Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before and after inserting contact lenses or you’ll run the risk of harmful bacteria reaching your lens and eyes.
Store your lenses in solution if necessary as this will help guarantee your eyes are safe from infection. Contact lenses and tap water DO NOT go together and can cause serious eye infections.
Only wear your contact lenses for the recommended time as you will be limiting the supply of oxygen to your eyes leading to new blood vessel growth
Don’t ever share your lenses. You’ll be exchanging eye germs and increasing your chances of an eye infection.
Never wear a torn or damaged contact as this will scratch and damage the surface of your cornea.
Put your contact lenses in before applying your Halloween makeup or Special FX to avoid them getting dirty and damaged, and further leading to eye irritations and infections.