Thousands of party-goers are risking going blind for using novelty contact lenses on Halloween, eye experts have warned.
The lenses, available online and in fancy dress shops, can be bought and used without any safety checks being made on the eyes even though contact lenses should only be given out by a prescription in the UK.
These novelty lenses can cause ulcers, tears on the cornea, infections and permanent sight damage
But “Decorative contact lenses need to be treated in the same way as prescription contact lenses, with thorough guidance on how to put them in and follow up care,’ said eye surgeon David Allamby
Contact lenses should only be fitted by an optometrist who measures each eye to fit the lenses and checks how the eyes respond, he said.
Poorly fitting lenses can lead to scratches or ulcers on the cornea, conjunctivitis, decreased vision and even blindness.
‘It’s quite shocking that you can just pick these things up on the internet or in a fancy dress shop with no advice or aftercare.
‘I have seen some terrible cases of injuries from contacts and novelty ones aren’t likely to be of the same quality as those on prescription.
‘Even just putting them in incorrectly can lead to tears on the cornea, then bacteria breeds behind the lens which can lead to ulcers and ultimately blindness.
‘After a party, people might sleep in them which increases the likelihood of infection. They need to understand there is a risk of them permanently damaging their eyes.”
Simon Greir, spokesman for the General Optical Council, said the lenses should not even be on sale.
He explained: “Cosmetic contact lenses should be supplied only by or under the supervision of a registered optician or medical practitioner. This equally applies to lenses described as ‘eye accessories’.
“Supervision requires the registered person to be present on the premises, aware of the procedure and in a position to intervene if necessary and the supplier must also make arrangements for the wearer to receive ongoing care.
“Any sales of cosmetic contact lenses that do not meet these requirements are illegal under the Opticians Act.”