Wiganers are being warned that the scariest thing about their Halloween costume this year could be permanent eye damage.
As the spooky season approaches, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) is aiming to raise awareness of the dangers of using cosmetic contact lenses to complete a Halloween look.
New research from the professional body has reveal that people have a “concerning lack of knowledge” when it comes to looking after their eyes.
The survey of 2,000 women revealed that 54 per cent did not know that a contact lens could cause damage to the eye if not correctly fitted, and 56 per cent did not think it was important to seek professional help when purchasing lenses.
Concerningly, almost two-thirds of those asked (61 per cent) would buy lenses from a non-medical source such as an online retailer or marketplace, fancy dress shop or a market-stall.
Daryl Newsome, contact lens optician of ABDO, said: “An ill-fitting contact lens could starve the cornea of oxygen, which can cause the cornea to temporarily go cloudy, if the lens is worn for a short period, or even cause severe and sight threatening reactions if the lens is left in too long.”
As the demand for dramatic make-up continues to grow, Halloween contact lenses are a trend that is set to continue.
ABDO’s research found as many as 61 per cent of people in the UK did not know that incorrectly fitted contact lenses can cause permanent damage to the eyes and over a third, 38 per cent, would go and see a GP instead of an optician to resolve eye soreness and discomfort, despite the fact opticians are often best placed to deal with minor eye conditions.
Mr Newsome has some advice on who the best person is to seek help from if you have a problem.
He said: “Visiting a suitably qualified and experienced eye care professional for the contact lens fitting, coupled with good advice regarding wearing schedules and lens care products, is critical to the happy and successful use of any contact lenses including novelty Halloween lenses.
“The law in the UK stipulates unqualified people are not allowed to supply the public with lenses without a written and signed copy of a contact lens specification. Novelty shops and market traders that do this are breaking UK law.
“If you wouldn’t buy prescription medicines from a market trader because you know this is wrong, why would you risk your eyesight buying unknown products from an unregistered seller?”