Eye-scream: Experts warn of novelty contact lens dangers

Those planning on dressing up this Hallowe’en are being urged to look after their eyes in order to avoid an unexpected ‘sight-mare’.


Specsavers wants to ensure that fancy dress revellers don’t play a trick on their eyes through costume contact lenses and make-up and instead treat them to the care they deserve however they choose to celebrate this 31 October.


While novelty contact lenses may seem like a perfect costume addition, they can damage eyes – especially if not handled in the right way. Not knowing how to wear or care for them can also result in 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, says: ‘Hallowe’en contact lenses have become incredibly popular 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 optometrist 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[1].


Mr Edmonds continues: ‘If you do start to notice any discomfort, irritation or pain during or after wearing Hallowe’en contact lenses, it is important that you visit an opticians 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 spooktacular make-up is properly removed before going to sleep. 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 Hallowe’en


  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


For more information or to request an appointment at Specsavers in The Brunswick Centre you can either call the store on 020 7520 0010 or book online here.