As Hallowe’en fast approaches, many of us will be busy planning costumes. Witches, ghosts and vampires might seem a scary prospect, but a real fear should be the risk of novelty contact lenses.

The products which have become increasingly popular can give the wearer a lot more than just a glow in the dark effect, posing a serious risk to the health of those who wear them.

Peter McGrath, Chair of the Optical Registration Board at CORU, has offered the following advice to the Public: “Novelty contact lenses might look like fun and be great in pictures but they are very dangerous. Contact lenses are a medical device and must only ever be used with a valid prescription. The only person qualified to provide a prescription of contact lenses is a CORU registered optometrist or dispensing optician or a doctor. In fact, if anyone else sells you contact lenses they are breaking the law.

“When you get assessed for contact lenses a number of factors are examined including your eye shape, size and tear quality. Optometrists use a special machine called a slit lamp and instil a dye called fluorescein to show if there is any corneal damage. This is all designed to ensure you can wear contact lenses safely and to choose the right lens for you. When you buy these cosmetic lenses from an unauthorised seller you haven’t received any of these safety checks.”

There are many risks associated with the wearing of ill-fitting, poor quality contact lenses these include, reduced vision, severe infections, etc. 

It is a criminal offence to sell lenses unless the sale is conducted by a doctor, registered optometrist or registered dispensing optician.

If members of the public see novelty contact lenses for sale they are asked to contact CORU immediately email: or visit for full details.