A woman feared she caused permanent damage to her eyes after a novelty set of contact lenses became stuck to her pupils.
Sarah Richards, a 24-year-old beauty therapist, bought a pair of inexpensive zombie-style contact lenses in 2014, the Daily Mail reports.
Richards said she had never worn contact lenses before, so she didn't know what to expect or how they should have felt once placed onto her pupils.
"All I remember was that they were made from quite thick plastic and they felt uncomfortable on my eyes straight away," she told the Daily Mail. "But after a while it settled down, and I assumed everything was okay."
The following day, after forgetting to remove the lenses before sleeping, Richards realized something was wrong.
"I woke up in absolutely agony," she said. "I knew it was the lenses causing me such discomfort and I had to physically [pry] my eyes apart. I could only see a tiny bit of light when I finally did open my eyes.
"I then had to scrape the lenses out. It was awful. And when I looked at them, they were covered in gunk and make up."
She went to an NHS drop-in center as she was afraid her eyes were permanently damaged. She was given an eye bath and some eye drops, and instructed to avoid straining her eyes, wearing lenses or using any makeup. Since Richards works in the beauty industry, she needed to take time off work.
Dr. David Allamby, renowned laser eye surgeon, encourages everyone to avoid these cheap, novelty lenses at all costs.
"Many people ... seem to think that putting things in their eyes that haven't been sold by a trained eye-care professional is perfectly fine," Allamby told the Daily Mail. "It is anything but."
Alistair Bridge, director of strategy at the U.K.'s General Optical Council, agreed, stressing that contact lenses should always be purchased from a professional.
"Opticians make sure that contact lenses fit properly and that wearers receive expert advice on how to wear and store them safely," he told Mirror, according to Tech Times. "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."
Richards urges others to take these precautions seriously.
"I would say to anyone thinking about novelty contact lenses to think twice," she told the Daily Mail. "You need to be so careful and make sure that you know what you're doing with them before they go anywhere near your face."