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Coloured contact lenses FAQs

If you are considering using coloured contact lenses for Halloween, a party or just a new look - did you know they can pose a risk to your eyesight?

Although the cosmetic lenses only change the eye's colour, and don’t correct any vision problems, they can still only legally be supplied by qualified eye health professionals.

Why wear coloured contacts?

As well as taking on a scary look for Halloween with red or black, amber or glowing green eyes, the lenses are popular with fans of the TV shows Vampire Diaries and Twilight.

Contact lenses that don't correct vision, but only change eye colour are also known as plano or zero-powered lenses.

What do the rules say?

Trading standards officials say coloured contact lenses can be found on sale in fancy dress shops, online and on market stalls. However, contact lenses can only be supplied legally by qualified eye health professionals.

Anyone selling coloured contact lenses illegally can face enforcement action by the General Optical Council.

What are the risks?

The General Optical Council says any contact lenses, including cosmetic ones, need to fit properly and that the person wearing them should do so only after getting expert advice from a health professional on use, storage and cleaning.

Lenses sold illegally may not meet medical standards and adopt a 'one-size-fits-all' approach.

Unsuitable lenses increase the risk of eye infections, and damage such as corneal ulcers, which can put vision at risk.

The Council is also warning against sharing lenses, which is another way of passing on eye infections.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on November 06, 2016

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