As Halloween looms, one of the most popular accessories to any costume in recent years seems to be coloured and novelty contact lenses. However, eye-health professionals have warned that the lenses may not be safe. In extreme cases using these lenses can cause sight loss.
The Association of Optometrists has revealed that many eye infections are caused by wearing novelty contact lenses. This is due to the higher risk of scratches to the surface of the eye as a result of unmonitored and poorly guided usage.
They suggest than anyone considering using these lenses for Halloween, or for any other event, should consult with their optician and get approval before proceeding. Scratches to the eye can lead to infections, which in the worst cases can cause impaired vision or even sight loss.
It is often the lack of guidance that causes wearers to get eye problems as a result of wearing them. The novelty lenses are designed to be worn once, by a single wearer. Mr Badrul Hussain, a consultant ophthalmologist based at Moorfields Eye Hospital, explains that some cases he has encountered wearers who have shared the lenses amongst friends, or have stored the lenses in water before wearing them again, with no regard to the expiry of the lenses.
Many people opt to wear contact lenses on a daily basis to combat problems with their vision as an alternative to wearing glasses. Contact lenses usage of this kind is monitored by optical professionals who supply the correct guidance for usage and give regular check-ups to make sure the wearer’s eye health is maintained.
Those who buy novelty contact lenses from online retailers and independent fancy dress shops are in danger of damaging their eyes without proper supervision. Mr Badrul Hussain states that he has dealt with children under the age of 16 who had developed eye problems after wearing novelty lenses. He warns,
"Not knowing the basics of using contact lenses safely can put you at higher risk of developing painful eye injuries and, in the worst cases, risk of permanent sight loss."
Significantly, the Association of Optometrists reveals that it is illegal to sell contact lenses of any sort without the supervision of an optical professional. At the very least, they suggest that people opting to wear lenses as part of a fancy dress costume should consult their opticians to ensure they fit correctly and to use contact lens solution when cleaning the lens before usage. These lenses should not be used more than once, worn overnight, shared or come into contact with water.
If you have suffered any complications from novelty contact lenses may have a product liability claim.
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