Halloween Again

Christopher Lee wore contact lenses, perhaps against his better judgementI received a call from a young sounding lady on Saturday afternoon, October 31st, after we closed, seeking advice.

She had bought contact lenses from “The costume shop”, but had noticed that one of the lenses was damaged – there was a “lump” out of the side of it. She had attempted to call and email the shop in question, but had not yet received a reply.

She called to enquire whether it would still be safe to wear the damaged contact lens.

I advised her that (In my professional opinion) truthfully that if she was to insert the lens, and it was not uncomfortable, then it was likely that she would not cause her eye any particular damage for a few hours of wear. If it was uncomfortable, then she should remove it immediately.

“Have you ever worn contact lenses before?”

“No”

“So do you think you will be able to get them out?”

“I don’t know”

I had a young lad in Kingscourt on Friday, for over two hours, who managed to get the lenses in and out, once. Then his mother and I abandoned him to see if he could do it again, on his own, but he could not get them out. He asked if he could take them away and practice? “What will you do if you can get them on but not off?” “Ohhhh”.

He has been booked back this week for another appointment.

I cannot believe that people will buy contact lenses from a costume shop and expect to be able to get them in and more importantly back out of their eyes. You will not damage your eyes if you cannot apply contact lenses, illegal or otherwise, but after a few drinks, or sober for that matter, you certainly could damage them if you cannot remove them.

You must not sleep in them…..

I advised her not to attempt to apply the lenses, for fear that she would not get them out.

Costume shops sell contact lenses illegally – It is illegal in Ireland and the U.K. to sell contact lenses without a valid contact lens prescription though only registered opticians practices seem to abide by the LAW – it is not “our” law, it is the law of the state. As probably all of the lenses a costume shop sells are non approved lenses (not licenced by the FDA, EC, UK etc), from questionable sources, no-one will have a valid prescription for that lens type. No excuses –  it is illegal. The retailer may not know that, but that is no excuse in the eyes of the law – but until there is a serious issue with an illegal supplier doing this, the law will not act to take them down, and even then, another will spring up overnight to fill their costume rentals and sales. At least they are selling the lenses, and not renting them? (Optometrists were stopped reusing contact lenses for fitting purposes approximately 10 years ago, because of the tiny, yet devastating possibility of spreading CJD (Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease) the Human form of “Mad Cow Disease”by reusing contact lenses. You wouldn’t know that – that is one one the many ways we keep you safe without you even knowing. Now, the risk in infinitesimal, but still, if the SEAC (The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisor Committee of the UK)  advises, so we abide, despite the risks being incredibly low – there are many ways your Optometrist ensures your safety without your knowledge!!

All contact lenses are medical devices (don’t be tricked by them attempting to sell a cosmetic device, which is what they may have been told) and must be prescribed in a safe and professional manner – you must also be taught how to get them on and off safely, how to care for them and what to do should you suspect that you have a problem during wear.

If your retailer does not advise you of the risks of contact lens wear, care schedules, and the do’s and don’ts, go somewhere else – please – anywhere!

Yes we do charge a €50 fitting fee for contact lenses, this lad I mentioned will be on his third or fourth hour, if he manages this time. Back to your hairdresser, mechanic, doctor – how much do they charge per hour??? And will they prevent you from blinding yourself??

It is almost impossible to source approved cosmetic contact lenses from approved, legitimate suppliers – they were making no money supplying them when being undercut but dodgy manufacturers – our two main suppliers, Coopervision and CibaVision both stopped making cosmetic or “fun” lenses a good few years ago. We can get cosmetic contact lenses specially manufactured, but as the last pair I did cost over £300 approximately 20 years ago, unless you are a film maker, or a rich music star (my client wanted to look like Marilyn Manson), these will not be a great option for a night out. He lost one after the first week.

Local eyecare for all the family

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