Girl, 11, Temporarily Blinded by Color Contact Lenses She Wore on Halloween, Mother Says

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A little girl was left struggling to regain her eyesight after the color contact lenses she wore on Halloween blinded her for nearly a week, her mother said.

Emilie Turcotte was determined to be the scariest demon she could be when she went trick-or-treating with her friends last Halloween in Montreal, Canada, and in order to do so, the then-11-year-old said she needed color contact lenses, her mother, Julie Turcotte, wrote on Facebook.

“She wanted to have eyes that scare … like [a] good mom, I went to buy [them],” Turcotte wrote in French in a Facebook post earlier this month. “Emilie was so happy with her disguise.”

Emilie wore them to school without issue, as well as when she went door to door for candy that evening, but woke the next morning in excruciating pain. 

“Emilie woke up in panic, unable to open her eyes,” Turcotte wrote. “She cried, cried that her eyes burned like fire, she was unable to see.” 

Turcotte rushed her daughter to the hospital, where doctors found the lenses had acted like suction cups, tearing away cells from her corneas. 

Emilie was also diagnosed with periorbital cellulitis, an infection that occurs when bacteria enters the eye and attacks soft tissue. It had had spread to both eyelids and the surrounding skin, leaving Emilie unable to see for four days.

“The doctors didn’t have the answers to Emilie’s questions: Will I be able to [play] ringette [a game like ice hockey] … will I be able to go back to my school,” Turcotte wrote. “We were so scared!” 

Emilie had to wear sunglasses for a month so her corneas could heal, Turcotte told Le Journal de Montreal

“And we thought: ‘All this for Halloween contact lenses,’” Turcotte told the paper. 

In Canada, colored contact lenses are considered aesthetic, and because of that distinction, they can be sold over the counter. Some optometrists in the country are calling for the lenses to be banned unless needed for medical purposes.

“It is a medical product and it should be treated as such,” Eric Poulin, president of the Quebec Association of Optometrists, told Le Journal de Montreal. 

The store that sold the lenses to Turcotte said no one under 18 can buy the product and said every customer is warned of the potential risks of wearing them. 

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