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Contact Lenses

Those that revel in the delightfully fiendish time of year that is Halloween are living (dead) the dream right now. The scary films, the frightening puns, the gloriously ghoulish costumes; it's hell on earth – and you know you love it. Special attention is put into choosing your spooky attire; you want a look that's both terrifying AND on trend.

To stand out from the crowd, many of us opt to take things to another level of horror and pop in special scary contact lenses – taking the scream factor from two to twenty if done right.  However, caution must be taken when it comes to using these; used incorrectly and you could seriously damage your sight. We've all heard the horror stories.  Because if you can't see a potential hot Dracula to sink your fangs into on All Hallow's Eve, WTF is the point, really?  

Here's what you need to know – and why caution needs to be taken – before buying and using Halloween contact lenses:

It's better to invest in a decent pair

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Yes, it can be very tempting it can be to order some cheap, creepy contact lenses online the day before the party, without the hassle of having to go into a store and have lenses properly fit (and we've all probably done it).

However, any type of contact lens – no matter where they’re from – that haven’t been properly fitted by an eye care professional can cause serious damage to your eyes. Specsavers, for example, will fit you for some – they aren't the cheapest on the market, but you know you're getting a quality pair which will minimise any risk to your eyes. 

What will happen if I just buy a cheap and cheerful pair for the day/night?

Some eye conditions people can experience after wearing these types of lenses include:

  • Decreased, or blurry vision
  • Redness
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Infection
  • Allergic reaction
  • Scratches on the cornea
  • Corneal swelling
  • Eye ulcers
  • Eye pain
  • Blindness, in extreme cases

You might think you'll be fine just wearing them as a once-off, but do you really want to take that risk? Experts have said don't do it.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Do I need a prescription to wear them?

Yes. In Ireland, it's illegal for anyone to sell contact lenses unless they are supplied to a valid contact lens prescription. All lenses, including non-prescription lenses, are now classed as medical devices, and should only be supplied or supervised by a registered optician.

What happens if I do wear some that I've just bought online or in a shop?

Options would advise against wearing cheap contact lenses from the Internet and without a proper prescription, especially if you have never worn contacts before. But if you have or are planning to, here are some things you can do to ensure your eyes stay safe and healthy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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DO
  • Take them out immediately if they feel uncomfortable
    at any point.
  • Make sure you understand how to clean and handle the lenses, as well as other recommended instructions.
  • Look out for ‘CE’ marking on the packaging. This indicates the lenses conform to health, safety and environmental protection standards.
DON'T
  • Share your lenses with other people, as this can cause infections.
  • Wear them for extended periods of time.
  • Wear them over your normal contact lenses.
  • Wear a torn or damaged lens.
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Whether you're a casual contact lens wearer or never go without them, you'll know all too well the agony that accompanies the moment your lens decides to go walk about…in the back of your eye.

If you thought a rogue eyelash or a shampoo explosion was bad, it has nothing on the pain caused by your lens slipping itself behind your eyeball.

Any contact lens wearer will know they'll stop at nothing to retrieve it which is why a group of doctors in the UK were left stunned after discovering – wait for it – 17 stray lenses at the back of a woman's eye recently.

The 67-year-old, who was waiting on cataract surgery, had been wearing disposable lenses for more than 35 years, and assumed the discomfort she was enduring was the result of ageing.

Speaking to Optometry Today, Rupal Morjaria, a specialist trainee ophthalmologist who worked on the case, admitted that the team at Solihull Hospital near Birmingham had never encountered such a mass.

"None of us have ever seen this before. It was such a large mass. All the 27 contact lenses were stuck together," she confirmed of the patient who had not been attending optometrist appointments.

"We were really surprised that the patient didn’t notice it because it would cause quite a lot of irritation while it was sitting there,” she said

Thankfully, the removal of the mass has resulted in a better quality of life for the patient concerned, with Rupal saying: "When she was seen two weeks after I removed the lenses she said her eyes felt a lot more comfortable."

Props to that woman for taking that discomfort like a boss, but a reminder to the rest of us to keep up to date with our optometrist appointments.

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Anyone who wears lenses, even the most casual of users, will know the horror you can sometimes encounter when you decide to ditch your specs for the day.

Yes, contacts are fab because walking in the rain while wearing glasses is probably the hardest activity known to man (Mini-windscreen wipers anyone?), but hell, those damn lenses know how to play with your emotions too.

Here are just ten stages we go through when we decide it’s time to lens-up.

Paranoia

1) You can check which lens is which until you’re blue in the face, but we all know that the second you’ve put them in, you’ll be convinced you mixed them up.

My world will be backwards!

Pain

2) The horrific pain in your left eye and the burning sensation in your nose signals the fact that your lens has decided to slide to the back of your eyeball and implant itself in your brain.

I am a walking Sci-Fi film.

Frustration

3) Applying your lens to your eyeball, watching your lens fold in half and slide out under your eyelashes. Reapplying your lens, watching your lens fold in half…and so on and so forth is standard procedure.

This is a fun way to spend precious eating-time before work.

Embarrassment

4) Lens begins tap dancing inside your eye socket while you’re in conversation with someone, leading you to blink wildly and twitch frantically, all the while refusing to explain what’s happening.

Why am I acting like it’s all a-OK?

Panic

5) You have a big night out planned and glasses aren’t an option, but you’re down to your last couple of lenses which you must then guard WITH YOUR LIFE.

Glasses are my only friend this week.

Judgement

6) Removing your lenses, breathing an audible sigh of relief and flicking them across the room at the end of the day is only appropriate if you’re in private.

God, what’s with all these uptights? It’s only a piece of plastic that’s been inside my face for half a day. Chill out.

More pain

7) Waking up after falling asleep with your lenses in is like trying to remove a really small, really fiddly limb, from inside your own head.

Well, this is a fun way to spend twenty minutes. Yawn.

Even more pain

8) On the very odd occasion you forget to wash your hands before application, you WILL have been slicing lemons or cutting onions and that’s just the way it is.

Burning. Forever burning.

Sympathy

9) When someone actually admits their lenses are bothering them that day, you feel a surge of empathy that almost knocks you off your feet.

You’re in a safe place now, friend.

Gratitude

10) When you look back at photos of your fourteen-year-old self in glasses, you realise you will go through anything to ensure you never look like Meg from Family Guy again.

Come to me, lenses! All is forgiven.

 

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