A young woman has described the searing pain she felt as her Halloween make-up burned her eyeballs and permanently damaged her sight.
Emmajane Duffy from Blantyre in Glasgow dressed up as a clown on a night-out with friends for Halloween last year.
But within hours the 25-year-old was rushed to hospital with an intense scratching pain which felt like ‘razor blades cutting her eyeballs’.
Her eyes were fused shut as gold glitter scratched her corneas, leaving her needing glasses for life.
Emmajane Duffy dressed up as a clown for Halloween last year – but has been left needing glasses for the rest of her life
Halloween had always been Ms Duffy’s favourite holiday and last year she donned a scary clown costume with gold glitter eyes and black make-up painted across her eyes and mouth
Now the customer relations advisor is urging others to take care when using cheap make-up products.
Ms Duffy said: ‘At first I thought a bit of glitter had fallen in my eye which was causing it to itch, but soon I realised something more sinister was happening.
‘The pain of the allergic reaction is something I’d never want to experience again. It was horrific.
‘Today I want to warn others to take care when wearing cheap products when dressing up for Halloween. I’m just glad I didn’t lose my sight.’
Halloween had always been Ms Duffy’s favourite holiday and last year she donned a scary clown costume complete with gold glitter eyes and thick black make-up painted across her eyes and mouth.
During the night out as she sweated under the nightclub lights, Ms Duffy kept topping up her make-up.
She said: ‘My left eye felt irritated so I dabbed it with a wet paper towel. I just thought a bit of glitter had fallen in my eye, so would eventually work its way out.’
But at 3am while she waited for a taxi, her left eye had completely closed up.
During the night out as she sweated under the nightclub lights, Ms Duffy kept topping up her make-up
As the 25-year-old waited for a taxi at 3am, her left eye had completely closed up
Emmajane, pictured with her boyfriend Steven, has been left needing to wear glasses for life
Once home she removed the make-up and applied cream to soothe the area.
She added: ‘It felt like a piece of glass was in my eye – I was in terrible pain. I did an eye bath to clean them out, but it didn’t help.
Ms Duffy was terrified she would lose her sight permanently
‘Minutes later, the sensation worsened. It felt like I had razor blades cutting across my eye ball. It was the most horrendous scratching pain.’
The next morning Ms Duffy was unable to open both eyes, leaving her temporarily blinded.
Unable to see she called out to her parents Fiona and Hugh who were sleeping in the next room, but they didn’t hear her.
So she used Siri on her phone to call her boyfriend, Steven Stewart, 27, asking him to take her to A&E.
She added: ‘I couldn’t see a thing so Steven had to dress me and give me sunglasses to wear to protect my eyes from the light.
‘As we drove to the hospital, I was terrified I would never see again.’
Upon arrival to Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride, Ms Duffy was rushed in to see an eye doctor.
‘The doctor told me to read out the letters on the wall. I literally had to pry my eyes open with my fingers, but I could only see blurry colours in front of me.
‘The doctor then pulled back my eyelids and administered lemon drops inside. I screamed out in pain it was so bad. It felt like a brick was hitting my eyes.’
Five minutes later her eyes were numb and the doctor asked her to take the eye test again. Ms Duffy got every letter wrong and burst into tears.
Ms Duffy was told she would need glasses for the rest of her life after her corneas were scratched
Halloween had always been her favourite holiday and every year she would pull out all the stops – but now fears fancy dress
Yellow dye was then put into her eyes and the doctor used a magnifying glass to examine them further.
She said: ‘She was shocked when she had a closer look in my eyes. She told me, ‘I’m not surprised you can’t see, there’s superficial scratches all over your corneas”.
‘The doctor told me I’d suffered an allergic reaction, most likely from the Halloween makeup.
‘She said I was lucky I didn’t go blind.’
She said: ‘Halloween became my own personal horror story that nearly left me blind’
After further checks, Ms Duffy was given antihistamines and instructed to put vaseline on the waterlines of each eye every four hours.
Four days later, still unable to open her eyes, she visited her opticians where she was told she needed glasses for the rest of her life.
She added: ‘The optician told me that my eyes were badly damaged and really sensitive to light.
‘He could still see gold glitter at the back of my eyes. He then advised me to throw all my make-up away to prevent an infection.’
A week later she started wearing her new glasses, but still suffered from hazy vision and sensitivity to light.
For nearly two months Ms Duffy took eye drops and painkillers every day.
This Halloween she will avoid getting dressed up and will instead be enjoying a holiday in Thailand.
She added: ‘It was the worst experience of my life. Halloween became my own personal horror story that nearly left me blind.
‘I definitely won’t be dressing up again in a hurry.’