Optometrist Roshni Patel says you should avoid wearing Halloween contact lenses this spooky season as they could lead to ‘irritation and infection’ if worn incorrectly
Image: Getty Images/Westend61)
With Halloween 2021 fast approaching, many of us have already planned our spooky outfits and are ready to go.
But as we prepare our face makeup and fake blood for the big day, eye experts are starkly reminding us that wearing quirky contact lenses this Halloween might do you more harm than good.
Halloween fashion lenses can add a unique touch to most costumes, but optometrist Roshni Patel – who is the head of professional services at lens shop – said they can be risky if you select the wrong ones or don’t know how to use them.
She said: “Colored contact lenses can be safe provided they are sold by a reputable source and you have consulted your optician to get the correct prescription for them.
AFP via Getty Images)
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“While base colors are often available from opticians or prescription lens vendors, Halloween lenses often carry a greater risk.”
Roshni insisted that the main problem with fashion lenses is their size, as they don’t take into account the shape of your eyes like corrective lenses do.
She added: “One of the main concerns with Halloween fashion lenses is the risk of incorrect size. When medical lenses are prescribed, factors such as the shape of the eye are taken into account to help select the good lens for the wearer – but Halloween lenses often only come in one size, which means they may not fit properly.
“Due to their design, they can also affect vision as opaque lenses can cover the pupil and obstruct your view. These then cause discomfort as they can be too tight or too loose on the eye which can also cause irritation and infection.”
And there’s also a risk of irritation if the fashion lenses you buy are made from cheaper materials than prescription lenses.
Roshni said: “Fashion lenses can also be made from cheaper, less breathable materials, which can dry out the eye and irritate it again if left on longer.
“In addition to problems with the lenses themselves, many of those who use them are not regular contact lens wearers and do not know how to use them properly, resulting in difficulty putting them on or taking them off. and in some cases, leaving them too long.”
The ophthalmologist also detailed his own first-hand experience with a patient who wore Halloween lenses for the first time.
She explained: “I’ve only ever seen one patient who wore Halloween fashion lenses, and unfortunately I remember seeing him first thing in the morning in an emergency.
“He had never worn contact lenses before but decided to order these lenses for a themed party. He had tried to take them out several times and in the end fell asleep in them.
“When I saw him the next morning, even I had trouble taking them off – they fit so well and he was so uncomfortable. Looking at his eyes, after the removal , there was a lot of corneal swelling and his vision had dropped. Fortunately, this may resolve over time, but things could have been much worse.
“Part of the problem happened because the lens was too tight for him from the shift – an ill-fitting contact lens can cause a lot of problems for the eye.”
Fortunately, the man was fine, but Roshni says he might have had more trouble had he chosen to clean the lenses via the website’s instructions.
She added: “What was most alarming was that the website he ordered them from was promoting saline solution to clean lenses. Saline solution should never be used in this way because it cannot fight bacteria and viruses, which increases the risk of infections.”
If you plan on using fashion lenses in your costume this Halloween, be sure to follow these guidelines to protect your eyes:
- Choose lenses from trusted suppliers who use quality materials
- Consult an optician before ordering lenses.
- Make sure your hands are clean and dry when handling your lenses
- Never fall asleep with your contact lenses on
For step-by-step instructions on how to safely insert and remove your Halloween lenses, visit https://www.lenstore.co.uk/eyecare/how-to-insert-and-remove-contact-lenses-safely
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