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Experts are warning parents against letting children wear cosmetic contact lenses for Halloween because the accessories could result in serious eye injuries.
Cosmetic contact lenses have become a popular feature of many Halloween costumes (opens in new tab) to achieve a spooky look, but they're not as harmless as they may seem.
The props should only be available to buy from registered opticians or doctors who can provide safe guidance on how to use them, but they are increasingly being sold cheaply and illegally on the internet, as well as in shops, for as little as a fiver.
The practice has led to a spike in people in the UK seeking medical help around the Halloween period, which is why health authorities are now warning against wearing the coloured contacts.
'Each year we treat patients, including children under 16, who have developed eye conditions after wearing cosmetic contact lenses', said Badrul Hussain, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields eye hospital.
'Not knowing the basics of using contact lenses safely can put you at higher risk of developing painful eye injuries, infections and, in the worst cases, risk of permanent sight loss.'
Cosmetic contact lenses are part of some children's Halloween costumes
The surgeon added that one of the main dangers is that people choosing to wear contact lenses for Halloween are often 'inexperienced' contact lens wearers who haven't been told how to put contact lenses in and take them out safely.
Not following the safety guidance makes it very easy to scratch the cornea, which could result in an eye infection and consequently in loss of vision in extreme cases.
He added: 'The cornea, the clear window at the front of the eye, is delicate and can be scratched easily by inexperienced contact lens wearers.
'This can expose the eye to organisms that can cause nasty infections, which in extreme cases can result in permanently impaired, or loss of, vision.'
Two years ago, a 16-year-old in the US went partially blind in her right eye after she ripped out the top layer of her cornea.
Leah Carpenter wore zombie eye contact lenses to a Halloween party, but she woke up with her eye swollen shut the next day.
The warning about contact lenses comes after safety concerns about the flammability of children's Halloween costumes led to standards being tightened in recent years.
The measure was prompted by TV presenter Claudia Winkleman (opens in new tab), who opened up about seeing her daughter Matilda's Halloween costume catch fire.
Would you let your children wear Halloween contact lenses? Let us know in the comments!
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