Isle of Man Government
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Isle of Man Government Office of Fair Trading

Important Safety Notice – Cosmetic Contact Lenses

People who wear cosmetic contact lenses this Hop tu Naa and Halloween are putting their sight at risk.

Differently coloured cosmetic lenses, made popular by TV programmes such as ‘Vampire Diaries’ and ‘Twilight’ are readily available online and in novelty shops, but the Opticians Act 1996 says that they must be dispensed in the presence of an optician or medical practitioner.

The General Optical Council, which is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK, warns that wearers are putting their health at risk.

Alistair Bridge, director of strategy at the General Optical Council said: "Cosmetic contact lenses should not be supplied by anyone other than an optician or doctor. Opticians make sure that contact lenses fit properly and that wearers receive expert advice on how to wear and store them safely.”

“They will also offer important advice such as not to sleep in contact lenses and to never share or swap lenses, which can spread eye disease.

"Otherwise known as ‘plano’ or ‘zero-powered’ lenses, cosmetic lenses are used to change the colour of the eye. Young people are known to share them, leading to an increased risk of serious problems occurring, including corneal ulcers and infections, which can lead to eye damage. They are often made and distributed on a 'one size fits all' basis and are not tailored to the wearer's needs, which can increase the risk of problems.

John Peet, Chief Inspector of Trading Standards, said “Young people should avoid using these lenses and parents should be wise to the risks. What seems like harmless fun could end up causing serious eye problems”

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