Boggarts, Bonfires and Big Bangs

The leaves are falling, Autumn has arrived

It’s getting close to that time of year again. Halloween and Bonfire Night approach with the rain, lower temperatures, and shorter days. It’s nearly time to get dressed up and let our hair down.

While we are all for having a good time, like every year we just want to wave a little flag of caution. Please, please, please don’t forget to protect your eyes during the festivities. We all want that “knock ’em dead” Halloween costume, but please don’t take it as far as buying and wearing over-the-counter “spooky” contact lenses. 

Enjoy the party safely

The hair raising effects of cosmetic contact lenses

It is possible to get serious eye problems from cosmetic contact lenses, both those purchased online and in accessory shops. The adverse consequences of online-purchased cosmetic contact lenses can be terrifying. In extreme situations, contact lenses that are contaminated or counterfeit may inflict sight-threatening conditions and irreversible eye damage. Irritation, redness, and discomfort are the most prevalent concerns.

Allergic reaction to a cosmetic contact lens

Even if you don’t need prescription contact lenses, you can only legally buy them in the UK from a registered optician or optometrist. However, some online stores get around this because they are based outside of the UK and don’t have to follow UK safety rules or optical compliance laws.

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) did a survey and found that 67% of people who wear contact lenses have experienced problems after buying them online. 17% of these people said that this had caused permanent eye damage.

In 2016 eye surgeon Dr David Teenan, gave Halloween party goers a strong warning about the health risks of using cosmetic contact lenses to finish their costumes. He said that people who wear cosmetic contact lenses risk heavy metal poisoning and a number of eye problems, such as swelling, infection, and even loss of vision.

Many people think that cosmetic and coloured lenses are safe because they are easy to find in shops and online in the weeks before Halloween, but many definitely are not. They can be incredibly hazardous.

Unlike prescription contact lenses, the manufacture and sale of cosmetic lenses are not regulated by UK legislation. By using these goods, individuals endanger one of the most delicate organs in their bodies for a little gain.

More than meets the eye

Aside from risk of infection and allergies, cosmetic lenses can cause other issues as well. Cat eyes and blackout lenses, which are popular for Halloween, may drastically decrease the wearer’s peripheral vision, reducing mobility and balance and making driving incredibly dangerous.

Other problems arise from improper handling of the lenses. Numerous cosmetic contact lens wearers are ignorant of the proper insertion and removal procedures; as a consequence, we see a great number of patients with corneal abrasions and resultant infections and difficulties.

Halloween isn’t the only danger

Bonfire night is another time for festivities, but again the risk to eye health is increased considerably. Families around the nation will soon be enjoying neighbourhood fireworks displays and garden bonfires, from simple sparklers to the sights and sounds of rockets. 

Fireworks may burn more than your fingertips, and they can seriously harm your eyes. Fireworks-related eye injury can result in permanent vision loss or blindness, but is often avoidable. 

The most secure approach for a family to enjoy fireworks is:
  • Attend a well-organised event.

  • Maintain a safe distance!

  • Always adhere to the Fireworks Code.

  • Always watch the children.

Sparkler eye protection

Sparklers burn at 2000°C, which can melt metals. Therefore when handling or lighting sparklers, always use protective eyewear. Never offer them to youngsters under five and always supervise children with sparklers.

First aid for fireworks-related eye injury

Fireworks-related eye injuries require immediate medical intervention. If firework debris is in the eye, rinsing or rubbing it may cause severe harm.

The sooner you get treatment, the better the chance of recovery.

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