Halloween is just around the corner, and many people are gearing up to celebrate by dressing up in costumes. While some choose spooky outfits, others take the opportunity to emulate their favorite celebrities or characters. To complete their look, many turn to contact lenses to enhance their appearance. 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 meets legal requirements. However, the British Contact Lens Association advises that contact lenses should only be purchased and worn after a registered contact lens practitioner has conducted an initial assessment and provided a prescription. Buying contact 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 obtained with a prescription from an optician. It is illegal to purchase contact lenses without one. Even if you don’t require vision correction, it is still necessary to visit an optician to ensure that the lenses are suitable for your eyes.

Patel recommends that before purchasing contact lenses, individuals should have a check-up with their eye care practitioner, regardless of whether they are buying cosmetic lenses with or without powers. It is advisable to avoid buying 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. Patel further explains the dangers of wearing non-prescribed contacts, including corneal infections, scratches on the cornea, conjunctivitis, and reduced vision.

If you decide to wear contact lenses this Halloween, there are some safety tips to follow. It is recommended to have a check-up with your eye practitioner before purchasing lenses, even if your eyesight is good. If deemed suitable, 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 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, only wear them for one day and do not exceed the recommended wearing time. If in doubt, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid sleeping with the lenses in, as this can cause misalignment, eye irritation, and potentially permanent 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 treatment.

This Halloween, have fun dressing up but remember to prioritize your eye health by following these safety guidelines when using contact lenses.

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