Press release

Eight tips for safe spooky contact lenses this Halloween

Make sure infections and corneal ulcers aren't part of your Halloween horror

15 Oct 2019

  • Many Halloween contact lenses are unregulated and illegal
  • Poor quality contact lenses can cause serious eye health complications with wearers at risk of corneal ulcers or abrasions, eye infections and even blindness 
  • One eye expert in 10 has seen a patient with eye problems after wearing novelty contact lenses 

With Halloween approaching, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) offers advice for buying and wearing contact lenses safely – as thousands choose spooky eye wear as a finishing touch to their costume.  

  1. Get your lenses fitted by a professional, not the Internet
    If they are not fitted and cared for properly, contact lenses carry a risk of eye infections, causing blindness in some rare cases. It’s not worth putting your eyes at risk, so get the best advice and make sure your contact lenses are fitted by an eye care professional. 

  2. Like swapping gruesome germs?
    We didn’t think so. Never share or swap contact lenses with anyone else – the chances of getting a nasty infection, such as bacterial conjunctivitis, is much more likely. This can make eyes uncomfortable, pink or red, and create a yellow or green sticky discharge, and has the potential to lead to corneal ulcers, corneal scarring and blindness.

  3. Can you trust the supplier?   
    Novelty lenses are often available in joke and fancy-dress shops and can be purchased online but these suppliers are often unregulated. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without the supervision of a registered professional like an optometrist or contact lens optician because of the risk to your eyes. 

  4. Don’t keep lenses in all night, or you’ll wake up with a fright 
    Unless specifically designed for extended use, contact lenses should not be worn overnight. Not only can extended use increase the risk of eye infections, it can starve your eye of oxygen and cause the lens to bind itself to the front of your eye. 

  5. Keep lenses clean but never with water 
    When wearing any type of contact lenses, make sure they are clean by using the recommended contact lens solution. Never use tap water to clean lenses because this can lead to serious, and potentially blinding, eye conditions. And always wash and dry your hands before inserting your lenses. 

  6. Don’t re-use your lenses, they’re better as a one-night stand
    You should never re-use contact lenses unless they are speci´Čücally designed for repeat wear, as it increases the likelihood of infections and keratitis which is a very painful inflammation of the cornea. Re-useable lenses must be kept in fresh contact lens solution, in a clean contact lens case too.

  7. Put your lenses in before putting your face on 
    If your costume involves a full face of make-up remember to apply it after putting your contact lenses in. 

  8. If in doubt, take them out
    If you suffer from any redness, irritation, swelling, pain or an aversion to light, remove your lenses immediately. Consult an optometrist or contact lens optician for advice as soon as possible.

Visit the AOP website for advice on contact lens wear and care www.aop.org.uk/contact-lenses  

Ends

For more information, please contact Serena Box, PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, serenabox@aop.org.uk or telephone 020 7549 2040.

For high-res images please refer to this Dropbox folder

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 82% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit www.aop.org.uk

Notes

  1. Findings from the AOP Voice of Optometry insight panel. The survey was conducted by independent research company, Alpha Research between March – May 2017