With Halloween lurking around the corner, much of the fun is creating a costume full of fright or magical delight! And many kids and adults are embellishing their costumes with everything from dangerous contraband lenses to makeup that looks like blood on eyes that can cause infection to eyelashes that need glue next to delicate eye tissue.
There’s no fun in sporting an eye injury with your costume! Emergency rooms become crowded every year at this time as a result of injuries from face masks that obstruct a person’s field of vision.
Here are tips to avoid being an honorary pirate, wearing an eye patch for weeks because of an eye injury.
The information below is from Dr. April Jasper,Vision Source Advanced Eyecare Specialist, 319 Belvedere Road, Suite 1, West Palm Beach, FL 33405; 561-832-0677.
1. Harmful effects of trading decorative contacts or buying them places other than through and eye doc
Decorative contact lenses are very popular for Halloween. These contacts which can non vision correcting and are designed only to change the appearance of the eyes, carry the same risks as corrective contacts. Federal law requires the FDA to regulate decorative lenses as medical devices, similar to corrective lenses. However, decorative contact lenses continue to be illegally marketed and distributed directly to consumers through a variety of sources, including flea markets, the internet and beauty salons.
Decorative contacts are a concern all year long, but Halloween is a time when people use them to enhance costumes. Consumers who purchase lenses without a prescription or without consultation from an eye doctor put themselves at risk of serious bacterial infection, or even significant damage to the eye’s ability to function, with the potential for irreversible sight loss.
It is extremely important that the public understand the risks associated with improper use of decorative contact lenses and understand the importance of an exam by an optometrist for the purpose of prescribing the contact lenses that are appropriate for each patient.
Some of the most serious eye infections I see in my practice are those resulting from the improper use, care and replacement of decorative contact lenses.
2. Importance of Halloween costumes/masks not obstructing sight
Halloween can be a fun time for adults and children if certain safety guidelines are followed. Emergency rooms become crowded every year at this time as a result of injuries sustained as a result of face masks that obstruct a persons field of view. Eye injuries include scratches to the cornea (the front surface of the eye resulting the focusing power of the eye) from poor fitting masks themselves that can slide and cut the eye.
3. Proper usage of Halloween makeup and importance of avoiding contact with eye/sharing eye makeup
Makeup even for the purposes of one time use for Halloween costumes should be considered a personal item and never shared with others especially eye makeup. Eyes have a variety of germs in and around them and one can never know who is carrying a germ that can result in a serious eye infection. Germs can be transmitted from the hands to the makeup or from a makeup applicator into the makeup and then transmitted to the next person to use the makeup. Remember to use proper hygiene such as handwashing and do not use any makeup that has been used by another person.
- We’re all for eyelash enhancement. Fake lashes, lash extensions, lash tinting — why not? But glues around your eyes must be used with extreme caution.
- Many costumes don’t seem complete without a wand or sword. But kiddos on a sugar high and objects that can easily injure a child’s eye don't always mix. In addition, other objects and props like feathers or other decorations with spines or wires can inadvertently poke a child’s eye.
- Carry a damp washcloth. Kids will often perspire while running around with their costumes and makeup that starts out away from the eye can run and smear, irritating the eyes. Ensure face paint and makeup is removed before bed. Sleeping in makeup can lead to stye formation or irritate the eyes overnight.
If blurred vision, redness, discomfort, swelling or discharge occurs, discontinue use of the contact lens immediately and see a physician sooner rather than later, as these may be signs of serious eye issues such as corneal abrasion, conjunctivitis, or corneal ulcer.