Why I’m scared of Halloween
The scariest thing about these zombie, werewolf and vampire contact lenses are the consequences I have seen in my consult room!
As a result of the inherent dangers of wearing these lenses incorrectly, there is legislation protecting you here in South Australia. A retailer can only sell you a pair of cosmetic contact lenses if you produce a prescription written by your optometrist which proves that your eye health has been checked and you have been assessed for contact lens suitability and trained how to use them safely. A retailer who breaks the law is at risk of a $30,000 fine. That’s serious: and so is your eye sight. These contact lenses are not toys. If your desire to try them just can’t be quenched, I urge you to at least take some precautionary steps to keep your eyes and your future vision as safe as possible.
Get them fitted professionally
If you’re going to wear contact lenses successfully, they need to fit well. Like those dodgy ‘must have’ heels, if they don’t fit well, they will rub and squeeze, causing damage. But instead of painful blisters on your feet needing a soak and a band aid, you could be boasting sight-threatening ulcers on the surface of your eye.
Sadly, like any contact lenses, we’re not all made to wear them! The shape of the surface of our cornea (on which the contact lens is placed) varies between people, just like our height and the curl of our hair. If the lenses don’t fit properly, or are not put in properly, the front layer of the
cornea can be damaged which opens the door to a corneal infection. There are real life cases of young people irreversibly damaging their vision.
So before you pop anything on your precious cornea, please book an appointment to come and see me. I’ll take a really good look at your eyes and advise you accordingly. If you go ahead, I’ll also train you how to take good care of your lenses and your eyes and coach you on popping them in and out like a pro.
Source them from a reputable supplier
Prescription contact lenses which (as a result of decades of scientific research) come in a huge range of shapes, sizes and materials and can even be tailor-made for you. They are also manufactured in highly-specialised manufacturing facilities to the highest specifications and in strict hygiene conditions. Contrastingly, ‘party’ contact lenses are almost always made of the cheapest plastic that will do the job, are rough and ready and not hygienically-produced. A study has shown they may also contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine, which will slowly seep into your eyes.
Steer clear of market stalls and fancy dress shops, fashion boutiques and nail salons, on-line or otherwise. You can buy non-prescription contact lenses made just for you: pop in and let’s discuss your options.
Regular eye health checks
If you wear cosmetic contact lenses regularly (perhaps you are in the theatre or just want to change the colour of your eyes), please book in for regular eye health checks so I can ensure your regular contact lens wear is not damaging your eyes. I can also advise on any lubricants, wearing routines and follow up that may be required to keep you wearing them happily. I recommend a check every 12 months, even if your eyes feel fine. It’ll be 30 minutes well spent and we do have appointments in the evening and Saturday mornings.
Apparently, teenage girls swap and share cosmetic contact lenses all the time. No washing in between of hands or lenses: my blood runs cold at the thought.
Never share the lenses (or the bacteria and eye infections associated with them). Always sterilise them before you wear them, using contact lens sterilising solution. This includes the first time you’ve popped them out of the packet. Store them in fresh contact lens solution, replaced frequently. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling them. If you drop them, sterilise them again or even better: accidently tread on them, pulverising them to pulp and sweep what’s left into the bin!
Of course, if you are wearing daily single use contact lenses then they just can be thrown away after you have worn them- don’t re- use them. One serious red eye incident, even if not a sight threatening infection, can render you unable to wear contact lenses again- ever.
Emergency care quickly
If you do choose to give these lenses a go, be vigilant. At the first miniscule hint of a problem (redness, itchiness, soreness, stinging) call Victor Eye Centre immediately and make an urgent appointment for an eye health check. Make sure you make it clear what your reason is and we will squeeze you in on the same day. If the lenses have damaged or infected your eye, the quicker I can diagnose and treat the problem, the most likely you are to enjoy a full recovery.
I am an optometrist with therapeutic endorsement, which allows me to prescribe any eye medication you may need.