Moorfields Eye Hospital and the General Optical Council (GOC) has urged party-goers to buy and wear cosmetic contact lenses safely this Halloween.
The organisations explained that a lack of adequate advice on how to wear and care for novelty lenses can cause an increase in A&E visits around Halloween.
They also highlighted that cosmetic contact lenses are often sold illegally on market stalls, joke shops and websites.
Chief executive of the GOC, Vicky McDermott, explained: “When lenses are sold illegally, wearers are denied important safety checks and advice, putting them at risk of serious damage to their eyes.”
Moorfields’ consultant ophthalmic surgeon, Badrul Hussain, said that each year the hospital treats patients who have shared lenses with friends, worn the same pair of contact lenses from last year, or stored them in tap water.
“Most of the patients haven’t been shown how to look after their cosmetic lenses or their eyes properly. Not knowing the basics of using contact lenses safely can put you at higher risk of developing painful eye injuries, infections and in the worst cases, permanent sight loss,” he said.
Ms McDermott added: “Party-goers can better protect their sight by buying their lenses from a qualified professional.”
Moorfields and the GOC advise that anyone planning to wear cosmetic contact lenses this Halloween should make sure a registered optician has checked that the lenses fit properly.
They added that party-goers should wash and dry their hands before touching their eye, not sleep in contact lenses, not let other people try them on, and not let the lenses come into contact with water.
The British Contact Lens Association has also issued advice and shared details of its campaign surrounding the topic.