Halloween is just around the corner, and many people are getting ready to dress up in their favorite costumes. While some choose spooky outfits, others take the opportunity to transform into their beloved celebrities or characters. To complete their look, many turn to contact lenses to change their eye color. However, it’s important to be aware that using these lenses can have an impact on eye health.
Novelty contact lenses are easily available for purchase online, but this convenience comes with risks. In the UK, it is not illegal to sell cosmetic lenses online as long as the seller follows legal requirements. However, the British Contact Lens Association advises that contact lenses should only be bought and worn after a registered contact lens practitioner has conducted an initial assessment and provided a prescription. Buying lenses from unregulated overseas websites increases the risk of eye infections, corneal abrasions, and even corneal ulcers.
Tina Patel, an optician from Feel Good Contacts, explains that contact lenses are considered medical devices and should only be purchased with a prescription from an optician. Even if you don’t need vision correction, it is still necessary to visit an optician to ensure that the lenses are suitable for your eyes. Patel recommends having a check-up with your eye care practitioner before buying contact lenses, regardless of whether they are cosmetic or not. It is also advised to avoid purchasing lenses from salons, beauty supply stores, boutiques, flea markets, novelty stores, Halloween stores, convenience stores, or untrustworthy online retailers. These outlets may not adhere to the same safety standards and regulations as reputable contact lens retailers.
Wearing non-prescribed contacts can lead to various eye-related conditions such as corneal infections, corneal scratches, conjunctivitis, and reduced vision. However, if you decide to wear contact lenses this Halloween, there are some safety tips to follow. Before purchasing lenses, it is recommended to have a check-up with your eye practitioner to determine if they are suitable for your eyes. If they are, you will need a prescription with the lens dimensions to ensure a proper fit. It is important to buy lenses from reputable eye care professionals or vendors that require a prescription. Reputable brands only stock lenses from manufacturers that meet quality standards and follow safety regulations.
When wearing Halloween contact lenses, it is crucial to put them in before applying makeup and remove them before removing makeup. Sharing lenses with others should be avoided as it increases the risk of eye conditions and corneal infections. Follow the directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses. If the lenses are single-use, make sure to only wear them for one day and not exceed the recommended wearing time. If in doubt, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. It is important not to sleep with the lenses in, as this can cause misalignment, eye irritation, and in severe cases, permanent eye damage.
If you experience any redness, discomfort, pain, itching, swelling, or irritation while wearing contact lenses, remove them immediately. Visit your optician or go to an eye department in a hospital as soon as possible for proper treatment.
Remember, while Halloween is a fun time to dress up and transform into someone else, it’s essential to prioritize eye health and take necessary precautions when using contact lenses.