Halloween costumes have become largely inspired by social media trends over the years, with TikTok leading the way. According to new research, 25 percent of 16-24 year olds said they would wear coloured or horror contact lenses as part of their dress-up. And TikTok videos have shown young people super gluing fake fangs to their teeth to make them appear more lifelike.
But both these trends could present huge health risks, including scratching of the eye’s surface and tooth damage.
Research by Optegra eye hospital group showed 42 per cent of participants didn’t realise you can harm eyes by wearing fake contact lenses, and 12 percent of people would share fancy dress make-up – another cause of eye infections.
Mr Amir Hamid, Medical Director at Optegra, said: “It is concerning that teenagers and young adults are putting their eyes at risk. For the sake of changing their pupil colour or adding to the gore and horror of their Halloween make-up look, they are risking infection and damage to the surface of the eye.”
He added: “We would warn against anyone using these cosmetic contact lenses. They can cause serious sight threatening infections. As well as the risk of scratching the surface of the eye when putting them in and removing them, especially for those who are not used to wearing contacts.
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“When medical contact lenses are prescribed, the optician will carefully select the lens material best suited to your eyes, dependent on thickness of your cornea, levels of dryness and so on. Of course cosmetic lenses don’t take any of this into account and can have an effect even within hours.”
A recent study has shown in many lenses (five out of six manufacturers), the colour pigment is not housed within a clear layer, but right on the surface of the lens which can affect eye health.
Mr Hamid continued: “If despite this you do choose to take a risk and wear them, take them out immediately if they cause irritation, redness or adverse symptoms of any kind and visit your optician for advice. Also remember you should never share contact lenses with anyone else.”
Some cosmetic lenses are larger than the pupil of the eye and so can sit on the very delicate white surface of the eye.
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This means an even higher risk of infection or injury such as corneal ulcers, abrasions and even loss of vision.
Payal Bhalla, Clinical Director and Lead Dentist at the Ipswich Dental Surgery, also warns about the dangers of super gluing fake fangs to your teeth.
“Putting superglue on your teeth or anywhere near your mouth is incredibly dangerous and is not advised,” she said.
“Superglue has toxic additives which when placed near or on the gums can cause gingival inflammation, and when placed on the actual tooth surface, can lead to potentially needing root canal treatment.
“This is because the gums are made of delicate tissue and the teeth have pores called tubules that are connected to the nerve of the tooth.
“When you apply a toxic substance such as superglue to the gum area, it becomes inflamed and the nerve inside the tooth will most likely die, which means you may require root canal therapy.
“Not only this but if the fangs are placed onto the tooth incorrectly it could actually alter your bite and change the way your teeth function which could cause damage to the neighbouring teeth.”
Fundamentally, by super gluing fake fangs on the teeth you are harming the enamel on the tooth and also opening up the possibility of fracturing your tooth.
Bhalla added: “You should be consulting your dentist if you are keen to apply fake teeth for Halloween as they will be able to help you safely place and remove teeth accessories to prevent any damage to your teeth.
“There are plenty of DIY vampire fangs that can be used as opposed to supergluing fangs to your teeth.
“If you have ended up using super glue or nail adhesive to your teeth, then you should not attempt to pull the teeth off yourself.
“You should book an emergency appointment with your dentist immediately, they will be able to remove the teeth using the proper tools needed to ensure no damage is caused to the tooth underneath.”