South Devon people dressing up for Halloween are being urged to take extra care when choosing any ‘spooktacular’ makeup and eye accessories.
Whether it’s vampire-inspired red contacts, spiderweb-like lashes or the timeless cat-eye, experts at Specsavers are keen to ensure fancy dress revelers treat their eyes with the care they deserve when celebrating on 31 October.
An increasingly popular trend is for people to wear ‘off the shelf’ novelty contact lenses, with research by the College of Optometrists showing nearly two thirds (63%) of people who plan to dress up for Halloween will consider wearing cosmetic contact lenses .
The research also shows that only a quarter of people (27%) would buy novelty lenses from a licensed optometrist , despite it being illegal to sell contact lenses with no prescription in the UK without the supervision of a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or doctor.
Not knowing how to wear or care for them can lead to numerous minor eye conditions – such as red eye, infections and scratches – as well as more serious complications that can, in severe cases, lead to sight loss.
Giles Edmonds, Specsavers’ Clinical Services Director, warns of the importance of staying safe this Halloween and making sure people protect their eyes.
He says: ‘Halloween contact lenses have become a popular choice the last few years. However, consumers are often not aware of the risks associated with misusing contact lenses.
‘In particular, if a wearer hasn’t had a proper consultation with an optician beforehand, they probably haven’t been taught how to wear or care for their lenses correctly. The results can be nasty and range from mildly irritating complications, such as blurry vision and conjunctivitis, to potentially sight-threatening conditions, such as fungal infections like microbial keratitis.’
Industry body, the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA), is working to drive out the unregulated sale of coloured contact lenses across the UK to reduce the associated dangers, following a rise in the number of eye infections at this time of year .
Mr Edmonds continues: ‘If you do start to notice any discomfort, irritation or pain during or after wearing Halloween contact lenses, it is important that you visit your optometrist immediately. Most of our stores offer eye health clinics where you can receive treatment for a range of minor eye conditions without needing to visit your GP or hospital.’
It is also important to ensure that any make-up is properly removed before going to sleep to avoid difficulties. Mr Edmonds adds: ‘Leaving your eye make-up on when you go to bed – particularly eyeliner and mascara – will increase your chances of getting bacterial and oil build up around your eyes or even inflammation. Make sure that you always gently remove beauty products to reduce infection and keep your eyes clean.’
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