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22 October 2019

Thinking of creating an eye-popping make-up look this Halloween? You might be surprised to know that false eyelashes, glitter and novelty contact lenses can cause a serious scare when it comes to eye health.

As top bloggers/influencers including Patrick Starr and Jamie Genevieve promote their Halloween make-up ideas, The College of Optometrists has issued some advice to consider when deciding on your own make-up look:

  • False eyelashes have become a mainstream beauty accessory, but be aware that eyelash glue, which is a type of superglue, similar to that used in DIY, may result in an allergic reaction that causes eyes to become red, watery, itchy and swollen. Remnants of glue that have not been properly removed may also cause an infection. Optometrist Farah Awan MCOptom says “I am seeing an increasing number of complications from people who apply false eyelashes or eyelash extensions, particularly in those who also wear contact lenses. The glue used with false eyelashes can cause irritation, inflammation and possible allergic reactions. They can also affect the way your contact lenses fit which may make your vison less clear. If you experience any irritation whilst wearing false eyelashes or extensions, or are concerned about possible reactions with your contact lenses, visit your optometrist for advice. With early diagnosis and treatment many problems can easily be resolved.”
  • Although non-prescription novelty contact lenses are widely available online and on the high street, it is illegal to sell these contact lenses in the UK without the direct supervision of an optometrist, dispensing optician or doctor. If these lenses are not properly fitted to your eye they may make it more difficult to see, cause your cornea to swell up or they may be hard to take out. Dr Susan Blakeney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser at The College of Optometrists says “If you want to wear novelty lenses, speak to your optometrist. They will be able to check the fit of the lenses, tell you how to care for them and show you how to insert and remove the lenses safely.”
  • While glitter can add extra sparkle to your costume, even one small fragment of non-cosmetic grade glitter may scratch your eye, leaving your eye more vulnerable to an infection. Dr Blakeney says “Glitter can irritate your eyes and may scratch the ocular surface. If you want to use glitter, check the vendor’s website and the packaging to ensure that yours is cosmetic grade and be careful when applying it. Also remember to remove your eye makeup carefully.”

Further information and advice to help look after your eyes can be found on the College’s Look After Your Eyes website.


Notes to Editors

  1. *Images of eye infections caused by false eyelashes available upon request*
  2. *Spokespeople available for comment if required*
  3. The College is the professional body for optometry. We qualify the profession and deliver the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.

October 23, 2019