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Why 'spooky' Halloween contact lenses could be scarier than you thought
- Coloured contact lenses are popular, in particular around Halloween but awareness of the risks is limited
- Dangers of non-prescription lenses include infection and vision loss
- Moorfields Private have treated patients including children under 16 who have developed eye conditions after wearing cosmetic lenses
Risk of eye damage from cosmetic contact lenses
Coloured contact lenses are popular as a means of changing the appearance of the iris. Every year, demand for cosmetic lenses increases around Halloween as partygoers seek to enhance their costumes, but awareness of the associated risks is limited.
Dangers of non-prescription cosmetic lenses include vision loss or infection, with additional risks arising from poor contact lens practice such as sharing lenses, exposing them to water or using them beyond the recommended period.
Badrul Hussain, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Private Eye Hospital in London, said: "Each year we treat patients, including children under 16, who have developed eye conditions after wearing cosmetic contact lenses. There can be an increase in these problems in the period around Halloween.
"The cornea, the clear window at the front of the eye, is delicate and can be scratched easily by inexperienced contact lens wearers.
"This can expose the eye to organisms that can cause nasty infections, which in extreme cases can result in permanently impaired, or loss of, vision."
Tips for safe use of cosmetic contact lenses:
- Consult an eye care professional who can advise you about proper contact lens care.
- Avoid online vendors – always purchase cosmetic contact lenses from a retailer who asks for a prescription.
- Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses.
- Never share contact lenses
- If you notice redness, swelling, excessive discharge, pain or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses and seek immediate medical attention from an eye care specialist.
Expert care for contact lens users
To make an appointment with an optometrist specialised in contact lenses for a range of conditions email firstname.lastname@example.org
Moorfields Private offers a range of vision correction options, including laser vision correction, for those seeking alternatives to glasses and contact lenses.
More information at http://www.loveyourlenses.com
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