Friday 9 December 2016

Give Halloween contact lenses a skip if you care about your eye health, warn opticians

Published 26/10/2016 | 14:31

The lenses, which distort the colour and appearance of the eye in line with costumes, can cause irritation and scratch the surface of the eye which can become infected.
The lenses, which distort the colour and appearance of the eye in line with costumes, can cause irritation and scratch the surface of the eye which can become infected.

Irish opticians have warned those dressing up to celebrate Halloween this Bank Holiday even more frightful.

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The lenses, which distort the colour and appearance of the eye in line with costumes, can cause irritation and scratch the surface of the eye causing infection.

Opticians warn that the poor quality of these lenses, purchased on the high street or online, could have more serious complications and in severe cases could lead to sight loss.

Speaking ahead of Halloween, Specsavers Ireland Chairperson Sinead Clohessy said: “Halloween contact lenses have become incredibly popular in recent years, however consumers are not often 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.”

The optician also offered advice to those who insist on popping novelty lenses into their eyes and advised that the contacts should be removed on the first sign of irritation.

“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.”

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.

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