Novelty Halloween contact lenses could cause blindness

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If you are planning on wearing novelty contact lenses to a Halloween party this year, you should stop and reconsider your actions.

Fans of fancy dress outfits are being warned that eyewear which is available to buy over the counter can cause eye infections and damage to the cornea.

Experts have further warned that zero powered lenses, which can be purchased quite easily in fancy dress shops, may even cause blindness.

A warning has been issued to Halloween partygoers that only prescription lenses should be used.

A 21-year-old who wore these lenses admitted that she nearly lost her vision. She purchased the lenses on eBay and did not give safety a second thought as many of her friends had previously used it.

Carrie-Anne Balloch from Leeds said she was in agony after wearing a pair of cat’s eyes contacts, which cost her £9.99, to a party during 2013. She said as soon as she put them in, her eyes felt like they were being scraped. She said she did not realise at the time that what she was feeling was her eyes being damaged.

A contact lens practitioner from South West Wales, Loveleen Browes, is due to appear in tonight’s BBC Wales consumers rights programme, X-Ray, and has issued warnings about the dangers. She said that she hopes speaking on the programme will highlight the importance of consulting with primary care contact lens practitioners prior to buying over the counter or online zero powered contact lenses.

She said they are seeing an increase in the number of acute eye care presentations where people are unaware of the dangers of using this type of lens without obtaining proper advice first.

This popular BBC Wales programme is airing a piece about the increase in sales of unlicensed cosmetic contact lenses, in the run-up to Halloween.

The chief executive of Optometry Wales, Sali Davis, said this was a perfect opportunity to offer education to the public about the dangers of wearing these types of lenses and the role that the primary care community practitioner plays in increasing awareness and aiding in the prevention of bacterial and other eye infections.

The programme is due to be screened on BBC Wales on Monday 27 October at 7.30pm, but will be available on BBC iplayer should anyone miss it.

Image Credit: ArunKamaraj

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