With fall underway and Halloween just around the corner, parents across America are helping their kids put together spooky costumes and coming up with safety plans for trick-or-treating. Tainted candy isn’t the only safety risk Americans have to worry about on Halloween, though. Adults and children alike should take precautions to protect their ocular health this year.
The Dangers of Decorative Contact Lenses We DO NOT RECOMMEND THEM. Colored contact lenses can add a special touch to the perfect costume, but many consumers don’t realize that they can pose a danger all their own. They can wind up causing contact lense-related eye problems such as: • Scratches on the eye’s outer layer • Corneal ulcers • Eye infections • Scarring • Permanent vision loss
Risk of Chemical Exposure Research published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology in recent years has turned up harmful chemicals in several brands of illegal contact lenses. At least three of the five non-prescription brands evaluated by the Academy contained chlorine, and four of the five had iron in them. The researchers believe these harmful chemicals may come from the colorants found in decorative lenses. We do not recommend them.
Textured Lenses Can Cause Scarring Some of the same brands were also made from materials that created uneven textures. The rough surfaces of these decorative contacts could scratch wearers’ eyes, encouraging infections and scarring that could lead to permanent vision impairment or blindness. Wearers may also be more likely to experience corneal ulcers and keratitis. It’s just not worth the risk. We do not recommend them. Your eyesight is too important!
Halloween Makeup and Eye Health There’s nothing wrong with wearing makeup as part of a Halloween costume. However, it’s important to purchase products that are hypoallergenic. Before using a new brand of Halloween makeup, try it out on a small test area first. If it doesn’t produce a negative reaction, it’s probably fine to wear it for the night. Just make sure to leave a margin around the eyes to protect them from damage and remove the makeup promptly upon returning home from trick-or-treating or seasonal parties.
Avoiding Mask Risks Masks are equally common and equally fun, but they’re often manufactured with eyeholes that are too small to see properly. Just take a pair of scissors and widen the holes before heading out for the night. When worn outside, masks should also be lifted when wearers are walking over unstable ground. This is especially important for children out trick-or-treating.
Sharp Accessories Costume accessories can also be dangerous. Tripping in the dark while carrying hard swords, wands, and other accessories with hard, sharp points can cause injury, so choose materials that are soft, flexible, and, ideally, short. This advice applies to both children and adults, especially if adult party-goers plan on drinking.
The Bottom Line Halloween should be a cause for celebration. Don’t let it turn into a nightmare. Just take adequate precautions to ensure that costumes and accessories won’t pose a danger to their wearers’ ocular health. Don't purchase or wear costume contact lenses. Protect your eyes, especially with Covid-19 still present in our lives.
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