There is a growing trend in recent years of buying seasonal or ‘fun’ or cosmetic contact lenses, online or from pop up costume shops, as part of Halloween costumes. 

However, the use of such contact lenses has been warned against by the Association of Optometrists.

The warning is supported by many studies from around the world, and the eye experts have also identified growing complications associated with wearing these lenses, which carry serious health risks and are also illegal.

AOI Optometric Advisor, Lynda McGivney Nolan, said complications arising from contact lens wear can result in devastating consequences with the potential to cause permanent vision loss – “Studies investigating the reasons for the increased risk of complications with these lenses has showed two important things. Firstly, cosmetic contact lenses are more difficult to clean and sterilise because of the materials they are made of and the pigments which colour them. This makes microbial adherence much stronger.

“The second major risk is that the lenses are not fitted by a registered practitioner, so adherence to safe insertion and removal are often not practiced – resulting in a very high level of complications”.

Ms McGivney Nolan concluded, “AOI is calling on schools and parents to warn children and young adults about the dangers of wearing these products and to refrain from purchasing contact lenses supplied through websites or costume shops.