Halloween outfits are growing ever-popular year in, year out, with special effects face paint and contact lenses positioned firmly at the top spot.
Despite their usually hefty price tag, people are mad for them, even though they could leave you blind...
It seems that decorative or special effect contact lenses for Halloween could be putting wearers eyesight at risk, Optometrists have warned.
The Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) has expressed concern about the growth in the purchase of cosmetic contact lenses in recent years, which are sold online and in pop-up costume shops, as a part of Halloween outfits.
Optometric Advisor Lynda McGivney Nolan said that people do not realise that the sale of such lenses is illegal and they have been proven to place eyes at increased risk of damage.
Members of the Association of Optometrists have reported an increase in eye complications at Halloween in recent years, arising from wearing cosmetic or special effect contact lenses as part of costumes.
We are issuing a strong warning to the public not to buy or use these lenses. Contact lenses are not ‘one size fits all’ and improperly fitting contact lenses, or the wrong type of material can cause damage to the cornea, ulceration, conjunctivitis, or blurred vision.
At its worst bacterial infection resulting from incorrect contact lens wear can cause vision loss within 24 hours. Harmful bacteria adhere tightly to the surface pigments on cosmetic contact lenses, particularly cheap brands.
The purchase of any contact lens should only be made with a valid current prescription. Supply of contact lenses without an eye examination and prescription is illegal because it is dangerous.
Contact lenses are a regulated medical product and may only be supplied and fitted by an Optometrist who has been professionally trained in the safe supply, insertion, removal, sterilisation and care of the lenses.
A 2016 study carried out in Boston on the impact of unauthorised sales of contact lenses cited a significant increase in reported complications resulting from illegally purchased contact lenses.
Similar studies have shown that the wearers of such lenses were at a significantly higher risk of acute sight-threatening infections and inflammations.