Look after your eyes this Halloween
With Halloween nearly upon us, now is a popular time of year for people to buy coloured contact lenses to put that finishing touch to their Halloween costumes. Whether that costume is a blood-sucking vampire or a green lantern costume, coloured contact lenses can certainly add a spooky touch.
Coloured contact lenses are popular year-round, particularly at Christmas, not just at Halloween, but few people know the risks associated with buying over-the-counter contact lenses. Many people are just not aware that decorative contact lenses require the same level of fitting care as a standard prescription contact lens. This is probably because they can be purchased over-the-counter or on the Internet and can be obtained without any eye examination. Some contact lenses may be completely unsuitable for the individual. In the UK contact lenses should only be dispensed on prescription by a registered Optician. Poor fitting contact lenses may cause ulcers, corneal damage and infections leading to long term eye and vision problems.
According to General Optical Council guidelines, contact lenses should always be prescribed by a qualified Optometrist or Contact Lens Optician who measures each eye using specialist equipment to ensure the safe fitting of the lenses. During this examination your Optometrist or Contact Lens Optician will check to see how the eyes respond to the contact lenses.
Eye surgeon David Allamby said “Decorative contact lenses need to be treated in the same way as prescription contact lenses, with thorough guidance on how to put them in and follow up care“.
Wearing badly fitting lenses can cause abrasions to the cornea, ulceration, conjunctivitis, reduced vision and even blindness.
David Allamby said “It’s quite shocking that you can just pick these things up on the internet or in a fancy dress shop with no advice or aftercare”. Mr Allamby continued “I have seen some terrible cases of injuries from contacts and novelty ones aren’t likely to be of the same quality as those on prescription“.
Inserting or removing contact lenses incorrectly can lead to quite serious corneal damage, bacteria can build up behind the lenses and lead to ulcers and ultimately blindness.
Mr Allamby said “People need to understand the risk of [these over the counter lenses] permanently damaging their eyes”. He explained: “Cosmetic contact lenses should be supplied only by or under the supervision of a registered Optometrist or Optician or medical practitioner. This equally applies to lenses described as ‘eye accessories’”.
“Supervision requires the registered person to be present on the premises, aware of the procedure and in a position to intervene if necessary and the supplier must also make arrangements for the wearer to receive on going care. Any sales of cosmetic contact lenses that do not meet these requirements are illegal under the Opticians Act.”
To safely wear coloured or decorative contact lenses for Halloween or at any other time of year, we would recommend that you follow these guidelines:
Always consult a registered eye care professional such as an Optometrist or Contact Lens Optician who will measure each eye and talk to you about proper contact lens care.
Obtain a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and expiration date.
Get follow up exams with your eye care provider
Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses.
Never share contact lenses with another person.
.If you notice redness, swelling, excessive discharge, pain or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses and seek immediate medical attention from
Always purchase the coloured contact lenses from an eye product retailer who asks for a prescription.
If you want to wear contact lenses then Valli Opticians can fit and prescribe them for you. Visithttp://www.valliopticians.co.uk/contact-lenses to find out more or contact us at http://www.valliopticians.co.uk/contact-us for an appointment, alternatively visit http://www.valliopticians.co.uk/practices to find your nearest store.
Image source amazon.co.uk