Travel in familiar, well-lit areas. Stick with friends. Accept only wrapped candy. Don’t enter any homes going door to door. As a responsible parent, you’ve covered the customary precautions with the kids in advance of rounding the neighborhood to trick-or-treat. You’re a grown child at heart and love Halloween too. Onto accessorizing your own costume. This year, you’ve tapped your inner werewolf and have perfected your costume with a pair of yellow contact lenses you found online. Not so fast.
Throughout October, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is promoting critical eye safety precautions to Halloween enthusiasts. The eyes get a lot of attention when enhancing the perfect costume. For Halloween Eye Safety Month, the AAO wants responsible adults and minors alike to be aware of several major safety practices when accessorizing costumes that involve the eyes:
* Non-prescription, costume contact lenses for “scary eyes” are highly dangerous. As noted on the AAO’s Eye Health webpages — it’s illegal to sell any contact lenses without a prescription in the United States. Only prescription lenses fitted by an eye specialist belong in your eyes. Bacteria linked to novelty lenses can lead to serious eye infections. Corneal transplants may be required to restore vision from scarring when corneal ulcers occur with cheap, non-prescription lenses. In the most extreme cases, when intervention and treatment are delayed for severe eye infections, these conditions can lead to irreversible blindness.
If you’re determined to enhance your Halloween costume with colored contact lenses this year, costume contacts are a bad idea. Visit an eye specialist for a proper fitting of prescription lenses, and have fun getting creative with other touches to perfect your Halloween look!
* Never share Halloween eye makeup. Sharing costume cosmetics can spread germs and bacteria and lead to infections such as pink eye. Throw out old costume make-up and buy new cosmetics to reduce the risk of infection for products applied to the eyelids or close to the eyes. Read cosmetics product labels for precautions related to infection.
* Avoid over-the-counter eyelash extensions. Self-applied eyelash extensions purchased over-the-counter can carry an increased risk of eye infection. To safely accessorize with eyelash extensions this Halloween, visit an experienced aesthetician. Ask your aesthetician to test for lash-glue allergies before proceeding with application.
Responsible Halloween enthusiasts both young and old(er) should have their fun on this beloved October holiday. When dressing up, just follow a simple rule of thumb to practice eye health safety: Heed precautions to protect the eyes in accessorizing your costume. Turn to the professionals for prescription lens fittings and eyelash applications. Don’t risk infection in applying questionable cosmetics to eyelids and other facial areas. Be mindful and practice social distancing and (non-costume) masking where needed. And most importantly — Have a safe and happy Halloween this October!