October - Halloween Eye Safety Month
Halloween is a traditional holiday that is a favorite of children and adults. There is the traditional trick-or-treat that is usually done but there are haunted houses that can be a lot of fun as well. There are precautions that everyone should follow. You hear every year about checking all the items that your child receives to make sure they are safe. What about eye safety for Halloween?
Children are always excited about the costume they are going to wear. Some masks can be dangerous especially walking at night. Some masks have eye holes that are too small blocking the child’s side vision. If your child’s eye openings are too small, use scissors to make the openings larger. If they are having trouble seeing have them lift the mask while walking or remove the mask until they get near the next home.
The accessories to many costumes ca be dangerous. Any sword, light saber, knife, or other accessory should be soft, flexible, blunt point, and not be too long. The child could fall and injure themselves and unintendedly swing a sword injuring someone.
Costume makeup can be a fun and essential part of a Halloween costume. You should test the makeup on a small portion of the skin of your child to see if there is any reaction. You should select hypoallergenic makeup to use. Keep the makeup away from the eyes so that the makeup will not get in their eyes.
Costume Contact Lenses
Every year people are injured by wearing costume contact lenses. These contact lenses are also known as decorative or cosmetic contact lenses. Every year around this time prior to Halloween websites, stores, gas stations, and etc. advertise these lenses. They make you think that these are just simple cosmetic or fashion accessories. There is no need to see an eye doctor to get a contact lens fitting as one size fits all.
Contacts Lenses are Medical Devices
Vision or eyesight is one of the most precious gifts that God has given us. Even with proper fitting, instructions on use, and cleaning, there are still complications related to wearing contact lenses. Contacts are a foreign material placed on the eye. Not having a proper fit and instructions can lead to serious consequences.
Costume Contacts Risks
Costume contact are required to meet any of the standards for safety that regular contact lenses must meet. Risks associated with costume contact lenses:
- Eye irritation
- Corneal abrasions
- Superficial keratitis
- Eye infections
- Corneal ulcers
- Chemical burns
- Vision loss
A recent study found that 60 % of patients that developed keratitis suffered permanent vision loss. A recent study showed that nearly 14,000 children were seen in the emergency room per year in the United States from contact lens injuries.
Costume Contact Lenses are Illegal
Federal law classifies all contact lenses as medical devices. They can only be dispensed with a prescription by an eye doctor. It is illegal to sell costume contact lenses without a prescription since 2005. This law was passed secondary to all the reported injuries related to wearing costume contacts. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has issued a warning about costume contact after a study found many of the contacts tested positive for chlorine and other harmful chemicals.
Halloween Safety Tips
- Be careful with masks and make sure they fit well and provide good vision through the mask
- The costumes should fit well and not drag the ground
- Wear reflective tape, bright colored costumes, or reflective patches
- Carry a flashlight or other light device
- Make sure that all swords, spears, knives, or wands are soft and do not have sharp points
- Young children should go with an adult and older children should go in groups
- Trick-or-treat before dark
- Go to a Halloween party instead
- See if a local church or organization has a trunk-or-treat in your area
- No costume contacts unless provided by an eye doctor
- Check all items received to make sure they are safe
- Use hypoallergenic makeup
- Have a great time on Halloween but use precaution as you don’t want this holiday to be a real nightmare.