Here, Carmel, tells the story in her own words.
H￼alloween is my favourite time of year and I always spend weeks planning my scary costume.
So when my local nightclub was holding a spooky party, I started thinking about what I could dress up as.
I know! I thought, excitedly. The creepy doll from the horror film, Saw.
With his white face and red eyes, he was terrifying!
First, I bought the doll outfit and some face paint. Then I just needed the finishing touch – red eyes.
Searching online, I found some colour contact lenses. I’d never used contacts before, but I couldn’t wait to see the scary effect.
Trying them on after they arrived, they felt a bit itchy. But they looked so good!
So I carefully placed them back in their pot, then, on the night, put them in again.
Admiring my finished look, I was so happy. ‘You look amazing,’ my friends gushed.
As the night went on, my eyes felt sore. But not wanting to ruin my outfit, I kept them in until bedtime.
The next morning, I couldn’t open my eyes. Wet and sticky with gunk, they were stuck shut! What on earth..? I panicked.
Finally prising them open, something was very wrong. I blinked frantically, but it was no use – I’d lost all vision in my right eye! I’d been blinded by my Halloween costume! ‘Mum!’ I screamed.
As she raced me to hospital, I couldn’t stop sobbing the whole way. There, a doctor said the gory contact lenses had caused an infection.
He didn’t know the extent of the damage, or whether my vision would be affected long-term, but he was sure it would come back.
Going home with some antibiotics, I felt so stupid I’d risked my eyesight for a Halloween costume.
For years, I’d seen people wear colour contact lenses at parties, but I’d never considered the dangers.
Searching the internet, I was staggered by how many warnings there were.
Eye specialists said buying them online rather than from a professional meant they don’t usually fit properly. And failing to follow the strict hygiene guidelines, wearing them for too long, and inserting them improperly can lead to scratches, severe infections, and even blindness.
I’d known all along the contacts hadn’t felt right, but I was so determined to look my best, I’d made myself blind in one eye.
Thankfully, my vision slowly returned, but it was never the same. For a year, I battled infections. I even developed shingles on my eye.
Now, five years on, I’ve been told I’ll need glasses for the rest of my life.
My right eye is prone to infection and a bout of flu can leave me temporarily blind in that eye.
I still love Halloween and dressing up, but I won’t use cosmetic contacts again. They left me in a real-life horror story of my own.
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