Halloween sight-mares
Avoid Halloween ‘sight-mare’
October 28, 2022

Avoid Halloween ‘sight-mare’ from novelty contact lenses

Friday 28 October 2022

Those dressing up for Halloween are urged to take extra care when it comes to choosing any ‘spooktacular’ eye accessories and makeup.

Whether it’s vampire-inspired red contacts, spiderweb-like lashes or the timeless cat-eye, the experts at Specsavers want to ensure fancy dress revellers treat their eyes with the care they deserve however they choose to celebrate this 31st 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[1].

The research also showed that only a quarter of people (27%) would buy novelty lenses from a licensed optometrist[2], 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 sage this Halloween and making sure people protect their eyes.

 He says: 'Halloween contact lenses have become a popular choice over 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[3].

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 a spooky disaster. 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.’ 

 How to avoid a frightening mishap this Halloween

  1. Seek guidance from your optician before using novelty contact lenses

  2. Avoid purchasing cheap products online

  3. Clean and store your lenses properly to avoid infection

  4. Do not fall asleep in your lenses

  5. Never share contact lenses with other people

Specsavers sells coloured contact lenses, including non-prescription lenses. For more information visit:

https://www.specsavers.co.uk/contact-lenses/coloured-contact-lenses-halloween.

You can discuss any eye or hear care queries with the team at Specsavers Hammersmith on 020 8748 3233 or you can book an appointment online.

[1] The College of Optometrists is the professional body for optometry. It qualifies the profession and delivers the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.[2] Research undertaken by Opinium on behalf of The College of Optometrists in October 2022. 2000 people were surveyed. [3] https://www.bcla.org.uk/Public/News/Blog_Posts/Scary_Halloween_lenses_could_see_you_lose_your_eyesight.aspx