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Fright night in sight

While a Halloween costume for me may extend to fake blood and plastic witch's nails, it will not include novelty contact lenses

27 Oct 2016 by Emily McCormick

As All Hallows’ Eve approaches, for many this weekend will be about ghostly ghouls, wicked witches and vicious vampires.

And as I make plans for how to celebrate the trick-or-treat event, I recall last year’s candy-collecting evening with trepidation as the haunting picture message I received from my friend the following morning springs to mind.

Said friend awoke from the ‘dead’ – she had spent the evening dressed as a vampire – to be greeted by a red, watery and swollen eye as she looked into the mirror. The infection that she had contracted was later attributed to the novelty contact lenses that she had worn the night before.

My friend is, of course, not alone. As sales of novelty contact lenses rise sharply at this time of year, associated horror stories hitting the headlines are inevitable. My friend is one of the lucky ones – the inflammation receded after a day or two and her normal vision returned.

However, just a few days ago I read an article in the Metro about 16-year-old Leah Carpenter who was left blind in one eye after damaging her cornea wearing zombie contact lenses last year.

Ahead of the ghoul-fest, both the BCLA and the College of Optometrists have issued advice encouraging members of the public to think twice about purchasing over-the-counter contact lenses. Both also emphasise the importance of purchasing and having these lenses fitted by an optometrist or a contact lens practitioner.

With this advice in mind, why not use this fright night as an opportunity to educate patients about the risks associated to novelty lenses, which returns to the surface every year?

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