From cat’s eyes to sore eyes

What advice will you give patients preparing to pop eye-changing cosmetic contacts into their eyes as part of their Halloween celebrations?


The first time that I went trick or treating I was the ripe age of 13. It was my first year in secondary school and something that my new group of friends took part in annually, promising me an evening of fun, frolics, and of course sweets if I joined them.

Making last minute arrangements for a night in search for a sugar high, my outfit was a little basic – an old white sheet with two eye holes to peak through. 

Recalling that first (and last) trick or treat experience, the outfits of both mine and my peers that I met on the cul-de-sac that evening were simple, sparse of make-up and mainly homemade costumes splashed with ample of fake blood.

Fast-forward to my early adult years and Halloween had evolved into house parties with fancy dress that certainly raised the bar from what my younger-self was used to – from fake eye lashes, nail art and make-up that looked professionally painted on, to cosmetic contact lenses capable of creating everything from cat’s eyes to zombie stares.

While I myself have not dabbled in cosmetic contact lenses, I have a number of friends who have been lured into the costume completing accessory brought over the counter or online, without the advice from their trusted opticians.

With carefully carved, illuminated pumpkins now adorning pathways, cobweb covered front doors and cardboard skeletons peeking out the windows as Halloween celebrations are upon us, I wondered if practitioners have seen a surge in patients looking for the latest eye accessory to complete their party costumes? And what advice do you give them?

In the lead up to Halloween, the AOP has released its own guidance, highlighting how poor-quality contact lenses can cause eye health complications.

The AOP’s eight tips for buying and wearing contact lenses includes ensuring they are fitted by an optometrist or contact lens optician (it is illegal to sell contact lenses without the supervision of a registered professional); keeping lenses clean; not reusing lenses; and not sleeping in them.

In the coming days as over-the-counter cosmetic contacts are packed away for another year, do you anticipate seeing an increased number of patients with red and sore eyes as a result of this annual night of celebrations?

Image credit: Getty/nimu1956