AOP contact lens advice for Halloween

The AOP issues advice on good contact lens care as Halloween approaches - a time when people often experiment with cosmetic lenses

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has issued advice on good contact lens care as Halloween approaches – a time when people often experiment with different types of zero-powered cosmetic lenses. Also known as ‘non-prescription’ or ‘plano’ lenses, cosmetic lenses are designed to change the appearance or colour of the eyes. 

Geoff Roberson, AOP Professional Adviser, said: “As with all contact lenses, cosmetic lenses should only be bought from a reputable supplier. Illegal lenses may result in serious infections and cause damage to the eyes. It’s important to follow the advice given by your optometrist or optician to ensure good hygiene, handling, and wear and care of your lenses.”

The AOP advises the public to follow its top tips for contact lens wear and care:

1. Buy with care. Make sure you buy your lenses from an optometrist, optician or other properly supervised supplier. By law, zero-powered contact lenses can only be supplied by, or under the supervision of, a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or medical practitioner. Unregulated lenses could be made with inferior materials or may have failed to pass safety or quality standards.

2. Good lens wear and care is essential to prevent avoidable eye problems. Wash your hands thoroughly before using any type of contact lens and follow all the recommended procedures. 

3. Never use tap water to clean lenses – this could lead to serious eye infections, including corneal ulcers and infections. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses.

4. Don’t share or swap lenses with anyone else. Never wear lenses whilst swimming.

5. If in doubt, take them out. If you experience any signs of redness, pain or loss of vision – consult your optometrist or optician immediately for further advice.

Contact lenses are now available from a range of different suppliers, including online and mail order companies. To comply with the law, suppliers must ensure that a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or medical practitioner supervises the sale or is involved in the process. The AOP recently responded to the General Optical Council’s consultation on a voluntary code of practice for online contact lens suppliers to make it safer for people to buy lenses online. The Association encourages those who buy online to have regular aftercare appointments with their local optometrist to avoid putting the health of their eyes at risk.