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Will You Trick Or Treat Your Eyes This Halloween?

29 October 2020

In new research, four in ten Brits state they will still celebrate Halloween in some way this year despite the pandemic, and reveals that young adults may put their eye health at risk as a quarter (25 per cent) of 16-24 year olds state they would wear coloured or horror contact lenses as part of their dress-up.

The new research by Optegra eye hospital group shows that while only one in ten of all adult age groups would do so, teenagers and young adults are taking more risks by wearing these contact lenses which can damage their eyes.

Across the UK, 42 per cent of those surveyed do not realize you can harm eyes by wearing fake lenses, and 12 per cent of people would share fancy dress make-up – rising to 22 per cent of 16-24 year olds.

Optegra warns that this behaviour may well end up with a trick not a treat this Halloween, as infection risk is heightened.

Mr. Amir Hamid, Medical Director at Optegra, said: “It is concerning that teenagers and young adults are putting their eyes at risk. For the sake of changing their pupil colour or adding to the gore and horror of their Halloween make-up look, they are risking infection and damage to the surface of the eye.

“We would warn against anyone using these cosmetic contact lenses. They can cause serious sight threatening infections. As well as the risk of scratching the surface of the eye when putting them in and removing them, especially for those who are not used to wearing contacts.

“When medical contact lenses are prescribed, the optician will carefully select the lens material best suited to your eyes, dependent on thickness of your cornea, levels of dryness and so on. Of course cosmetic lenses don’t take any of this into account and can have an effect even within hours.”

A recent study has shown that in many lenses (five out of six manufacturers), the colour pigment is not housed within a clear layer, but right on the surface of the lens which can affect eye health.

Mr. Hamid continues: “If despite this you do choose to take a risk and wear them, take them out immediately if they cause irritation, redness or adverse symptoms of any kind and visit your optician for advice. Also remember you should never share contact lenses with anyone else.”

Some cosmetic lenses are larger than the pupil of the eye and so can sit on the very delicate white surface of the eye. This means an even higher risk of infection or injury such as corneal ulcers, abrasions and even loss of vision.

Optegra Eye Health Care is a specialist provider of ophthalmic services in the UK. It operates multiple eye hospitals and clinics, bringing together leading edge research, medical expertise and state-of-the-art surgical equipment. Its top ophthalmic surgeons are renowned for their areas of expertise, offering excellent clinical outcomes.

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