The frightening truth about Halloween contact lenses

Why Halloween contact lenses frighten us at Allegro Optical Opticians

Cat’s eyes, Zombi eyes, Cyber eyes, no eyes there’s a Halloween contact lens out there for sale on the internet. The choice is endless and very cheap, with lenses cost from as little as £2.99. Or is it? What you should know before buying We have been doing a little research into these Halloween contact lenses. A simple internet search found lenses from as little as £2.99 for a pair of 90-day contact lenses. Advertised as all the contact lenses sold as having received Quality Assurance Standard, ISO 9001 & ISO 13485. This is very misleading, as both standards quoted refer to the management system and not a measure of the contact lens quality themselves.   So how can you be sure of the quality and safety of the lenses themselves? The simple answer is you will have to do a lot of research. You can research all the ISO numbers relating to contact lenses themselves. You need to know what size contact lenses you need, What diameter. What base curve, what material, what solution, what wear times…… Alternatively, you can visit a qualified optometrist or contact lens optician for a professional consultation. The will measure your cornea using a  keratometer to find the base curve and diameter required. A badly fitting contact lens can lead to long-term problems which can become sight threatening.

So why risk buying contact lenses online?

So £2.99 seems pretty cheap, or is it? We have been considering the real cost of buying contact lenses online. Many opticians and optometrists across the country worry about the real costs of buying “fun” contact lenses online. From the first of November, we see often see clients with many serious eye problems resulting from wearing badly fitting or poor quality contact lenses, or with lenses stuck in their eye. These cheap contact lenses are unregulated, many sites advertise they meet the ISo standards. But often not the correct ones, the advertising is misleading and can be dangerous. Buying “fun” lenses online can carry a high level of risk and little in the way of consumer protection. Wearing contact lenses which haven’t been professionally fitted can cause ulcers, infections, blindness and even the loss of the eye. Just one evening spent wearing these lenses can seriously affect the rest of your life causing serious damage to your vision and your eyes. And don’t just take our word for it, this photograph of a corneal ulcer is the result of wearing these unregulated lenses. A contact lens which is too tight can squeeze the cornea and restrict blood flow, which can be sight threatening. A poorly fitting contact lens can move around causing abrasions and painful ulcers like the one in the picture. Putting a contact lens into the eye with no training of how to do it or how to remove it carries risk. Many people can’t take it out once it is in, and we see people who have had the lens in for a couple of days. By that time infection has often set in and some serious damage has been done.

The risk of buying online

Risks to eye health include;
  • Painful scratches to your cornea
  • Infection
  • Reduced vision
  • Blindness
  • Loss of eye
Online contact lenses often come with no guarantees relating to the age of the lenses and their sterility. We tried to order some “fun” contact lenses online. At no point were we asked for a valid prescription from a qualified optometrist stating the base curve, diameter and materials recommended.  We were given no care or fitting instructions during the purchase, we had to look elsewhere on the website and found it under FAQs. We weren’t even asked for proof of age, so worryingly children could buy them. The whole process is a real gamble with your eye health.

Play it safe

If you really want contact lenses for Halloween our advice is to consult a qualified optical professional, (Free at Allegro Optical). An optometrist or contact lens optician will conduct a contact lens fitting, taking exact measurements to ensure the contact lenses fit well. They will then teach you how to insert and remove the lenses safely, and how to look after them. You will be given a trial pair of lenses to wear for a week, and then invited back for a follow-up appointment, when you will be issued with a contact lens prescription. Then you can safely buy your contact lenses, either from us or any other opticians. So don’t take a gamble with your eye health this Halloween. Play it safe and book your free contact lens trial today by calling 01484 907090  

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