Did you know that buying those fun hallowe’en contact lenses can be illegal?
Now I’m afraid that this isn’t some exciting story of my arrest after some freak lens raid, but more something that I learned from a press release I received in my day job that I thought might be useful information to share with you.
The story was about how Marnie Simpson (no, I don’t know who she is either but apparently she was a big reality TV star like 5 years ago) got in trouble with the Advertising Standards Agency for promoting ‘zero powered cosmetic lenses’ (AKA ones which change your eye colour without boosting your sight).
The reason that she got in trouble was that the product was deemed “unsafe”.
Now, for full disclosure, the press release was sent by Feel Good Contacts so it may be a little biased because, of course, the point of a company sending out a press release like that is too boost their sales; to scare people into thinking they’ll go blind if they buy anybody else’s contacts. Of course this isn’t necessarily the case, and it’s easy to see why nobody trusts anything that they read nowadays, but there are definitely dangers to using contact lenses.
I am a sometimes contact lens wearer. I’ve been through the tests and the training, and I have a specific set of lenses which are designed to make it possible for me to see without putting my glasses on. I sometimes encounter difficulties when using my lenses, and I know how uncomfortable (even painful) and scary it can be when something goes wrong – and my eyes have been approved for lenses.
The thing is that apparently contact lenses aren’t suitable for everyone – and I’m not talking about if you’re too squeamish to touch your eyeball. Not everybody’s eyeball is suitable for the one size fits all contact lenses in the mainstream market.
So what’s the story with contact lenses not bought through your optician? Well, like all things not bought from an official source (looking at you fake make up) novelty contact lenses bought from fancy dress or hallowe’en stores, markets, beauty shops and salons or online are not necessarily subjected to the same rigorous safety checks as ones available through optical establishments. You can mess about with a lot of things if you want – that’s your prerogative – but your eyes are definitely something to play around with.
If you’re buying novelty contact lenses for playing dress up and you decide to source them from one of these non-recognised suppliers, you’re putting your eyes at risk of a long list of eye-related conditions, including (but not limited to) corneal infection, scratches on the cornea, conjunctivitis and reduced visual acuity – ouch!
This is not me on my high horse – I’ve bought novelty lenses online before not knowing the true extent of the risks. I mean, of course I knew there was a bit of a risk but I didn’t realise quite how BIG a risk there was to my precious little eyeballs.
And I definitely didn’t realise that it was illegal!