Halloween is just around the corner, and many people are getting ready to dress up in their spookiest or most glamorous costumes. While wigs and makeup can help complete the look, one thing that can’t be changed is our eye color. That’s where contact lenses come in.

Contact lenses have become a popular choice for enhancing Halloween costumes, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks. Novelty contact lenses are easily available online, but buying them without proper precautions can have serious consequences for your eye health.

In the UK, it is not illegal to sell cosmetic lenses online as long as the seller meets legal requirements. However, the British Contact Lens Association strongly advises that contact lenses should only be purchased and worn after a registered contact lens practitioner has conducted an initial assessment and issued a prescription. Buying lenses from unregulated overseas websites increases the risk of eye infections, corneal abrasions, and even corneal ulcers.

Optician Tina Patel from Feel Good Contacts explains that contact lenses are considered “medical devices” and should only be purchased with a prescription. 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 that before buying contact lenses, you should have a check-up with your eye care practitioner. It is also advisable to avoid purchasing lenses from salons, beauty supply stores, boutiques, flea markets, novelty stores, Halloween stores, convenience stores, or untrustworthy internet retailers. These outlets may not adhere to the same safety standards and regulations as reputable contact lens retailers.

Wearing non-prescribed contact lenses can put your eyes at risk of various eye-related conditions such as corneal infections, scratches on the cornea, conjunctivitis, and reduced vision. However, if you decide to wear contact lenses this Halloween, there are some safety tips to follow.

Firstly, it is recommended to have a check-up with your eye practitioner to determine if contact lenses 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.

When wearing Halloween contact lenses, always put them in before applying your makeup and remove them before taking off your makeup. Avoid sharing lenses with others, as this can increase the risk of eye conditions and 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 do not exceed the recommended wearing time. If in doubt, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Lastly, never sleep with the lenses in, as this can cause misalignment, eye irritation, and even permanent damage. If you experience any redness, discomfort, pain, itching, swelling, or irritation, remove the contacts immediately and seek medical attention from your optician or visit an eye department in a hospital.

So, if you’re planning to wear contact lenses this Halloween, make sure to prioritize your eye health and follow these safety guidelines.

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