This Halloween, you may have spotted the ‘BeautifulEye’ online store selling ‘1 Day Use Blackout Coloured Contact Lenses’, a product they advertise as a spooky way to easily get “demon eyes”; 1 Day Use Blackout Coloured Contact Lenses’, have an opaque black iris, making your eyes completely black. These lenses are ideal for creating a demented demon, spooky phantom, or a zombie Halloween look!’

All Hallow’s Eve is a time for celebration and jests, but there is a large international community that was less than amused with ‘BeautifulEye’s caper: those suffering from aniridia.

‘Aniridia is a genetic condition that affects people at birth. The term “aniridia” literally means “without iris” (the colored part of the eye), which is generally the first indication that an individual has aniridia.The lack of the iris is the least of the ocular problems associated with aniridia.

Aniridia can affect the entire anatomy – the cornea, the fovea or retina, as well as the lens.  As a result, ocular conditions can include glaucoma, foveal hypoplasia, nystagmus, strabismus, dry eye, corneal degeneration, and cataracts.

Most people with aniridia have at least one of these associated ocular conditions that impact their vision. Aniridia is a rare eye condition, affecting approximately 1 in 40,000 births.’ (Vision for Tomorrow)

Heather Lee-Thomas from Georgia, an Aniridia mum, has started an open Facebook group and  an online petition, urging all colored contact lens companies marketing black out lenses as “demonic”, to change their marketing strategy.

On the online pettition through Change.org she explains: “Aniridia is a very serious medical condition. It’s literal meaning is “without irises.” We find that marketing black-out contact lenses as “demonic” is very hurtful, distasteful, and offensive to those who have aniridia and it’s associated and secondary medical problems.

We hope to educate the companies using this marketing strategy making them aware of the medical condition they so carelessly have deemed as a “great demonic look.”

Adalynn, 3 and Lucas, 7 both have aniridia

Please show your concern with us and ask the marketing departments to change their careless wording into something more appropriate with our aniridia families in mind. Thank you.”

We are certain that ‘BeautifulEye’ did not intend to go out of its way to offend those affected by rare medical conditions, and the right thing to do for them will be to rebrand the product.

If they don’t, it will just show callous disregard for the daily battles of aniridia patients, people like you and me, but who have to struggle for what we take for granted daily.

This is not another crazy internet cult rising up in arms about something that no one cares about. It’s a lively community of everyday people whose physical appearance has just been compared to a “demented ghost”. Wouldn’t you like to make the world a better place by signing that petition? Yes, you would.

There are many useful links concerning information and support on rare diseases and how more people can get involved in all these new projects.

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Psychologist, world citizen, mother - Effie is one half of the alwaysladies.com founding pair. She can bring to life any party with either a smile, or a strong opinion. If like us you can't get enough of Effie, visit her blog at www.thethinkingmomblog.com

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