Novelty lenses

These are a type of contact lens which are worn as part of a costume, e.g. fancy dress or used in the theatre, film and the entertainment industry.

These lenses are available in different colours, patterns, motifs etc and as a temporary means of changing your eye colour. A good example of these is a ‘cat’s eye’type of lens, worn on Halloween.

There are novelty lenses worn for fancy dress parties, those worn by clubbers/ravers and others produced for special effects departments and the theatre.

These lenses can completely mask the normal colour of your eye, for example a blood red lens or a black lens, worn by those of a gothic persuasion. Another type of lens is the UV contact lens which glows under bright lights such as those found in nightclubs.

Caring for novelty lenses

Novelty contact lenses can be purchased online but opticians advise that you treat them in the same way as corrective contact lenses.

This is an important issue: novelty lenses do not improve or alter your vision for medical purposes but are purely a cosmetic device. This means that they can be worn by someone with normal vision and who does not need glasses or contact lenses as well as by someone with a refractive error.

Basically, anyone can wear novelty lenses –whether they have normal vision or faulty vision, e.g. short sightedness.

But it is advisable to have an eye test and a current eye prescription even if you do not wear glasses or contact lenses. You should undergo an eye test every two years to check the health of your eyes and to see if there has been any changes in your vision.

Novelty lenses are available without a prescription but if you normally wear contact lenses then ask your optician for advice about these lenses. Also ask about arranging an appointment for a fitting. These lenses are similar to normal contact lenses in that they must be used and cared for as per manufacturers’ instructions.

They are usually worn for a prescribed period of time and must be cleaned and soaked in a solution after every use. Do not share these lenses with anyone else and be careful when handling them. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to these lenses so be aware of this when wearing them. If you develop an eye infection or your eye becomes red, sore and irritated then stop wearing them and ask your optician for advice.

The thing to remember is that if these lenses are looked after and attention given to good hygiene then the risk of an eye infection is very small. This is the case with any type of contact lens, whether they are worn to correct impaired vision or for aesthetics reasons only.

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