A fancy dress party-goer is facing permanent eye damage after a cheap pair of novelty contact lenses TORE OFF her corneas.
Nicola Cavanagh, 42, bought a pair of cat contact lenses for a party but struggled to remove them after she came home.
When she finally managed to take them out she was in so much pain she visited the hospital, where doctors told her she had ripped off the top layer of her corneas.
Devastated Nicola currently has blurry vision and fears that the damage to her sight will be permanent.
She said: “I’ve never felt pain like it, it was like someone was pouring bleach into my eyes.
“I was in casualty, screaming – it was absolutely horrific. The nurse called for the specialist when she saw the damage. It was more frightening than anything else.
“I just want to warn everyone else, I would never have worn these lenses if I’d have known the damage they could cause.”
Nicola, from Dundee, Scotland, bought the contact lenses as part of a costume for a party earlier this month.
The school support worker said: “I came home and tried to remove the lenses and I couldn’t do it.
“After an hour and 50 minutes after soaking my eyes with water they were getting quite nippy. I took them out and had sore eyes, bathed them in Optrex and went to bed.”
But the pain in Nicola’s eyes was so sore she had to go to hospital.
She added: “I was wailing at A&E. I couldn’t open my eyes by the time I got there.”
After seeing a specialist in Ninewells eye clinic she was told she had damaged the top layer of her cornea in both eyes.
The impact on her eyesight is so severe she is unable to use her mobile phone and has had to take time off work.
Nicola is now taking several different medications to help her eyes, including one which fully dilates her pupils — meaning she has to wear sunglasses if she goes outside.
She said: “I’ve had blurring of my vision, my eyes have been weeping.
“A number of other people I was out with also had these lenses in and complained of pain. One friend had to take them out after five minutes because of the burning.
“I just hope my story will scare others into not messing with lenses like these in case they get hurt.”
The lenses, manufactured by fancy dress company Smiffys, were sold from Yvonne’s Fancy Dress in Dundee.
They have now been removed from sale.
David Farry, manager of Yvonne’s, said: “We are waiting to hear back from the company that produced the lenses.
“If there is even a tiny chance that these lenses could cause damage we will withdraw them from sale.
“It’s important to be careful and look out for our customers.”
Consumers were warned before Halloween to avoid wearing fancy dress one-day use contact lenses due to the affect they could have on people’s eyes.
Dr David Allamby, a consultant eye surgeon, said: “Decorative contact lenses need to be treated in the same way as prescription contact lenses, with thorough guidance on how to put them in and follow up care.
“It’s shocking that you can just pick these things up on the internet or in a fancy dress shop with no advice or after care.”
A spokeswoman for Smiffys said the company was taking the complaint seriously, adding they had suspended sales of the contact lenses while they carried out an investigation.
She said: “Smiffys are taking this complaint seriously and are sorry to hear that Nicola Cavanagh has experienced this level of discomfort.
“However, as we do not manufacture the eye accessories we are working with our supplier and everyone involved to establish what has happened.
“Whilst this investigation is being carried out we have blocked sales of the product in question as a precaution.”
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