Halloween, with its timeless traditions of costumes and trick or treating, is usually great fun for people of all ages. However, keep your eyes safe and don’t let an eye infection be the scariest part of your Halloween!
Educate yourself and others about the dangers (including eye sores and vision loss) of improper makeup, masks and using decorative contact lenses without a prescription.
Makeup can be an important part of a well-thought-out costume, or an easy last-minute solution. No matter the situation, be sure to take precautions while using cosmetics near the eyes. The eyelids and eye surface are more susceptible to irritation than skin elsewhere on the body.
Carefully select the makeup you use, and be aware that certain ingredients such as fragrances, preservatives (including parabens and benzalkonium chloride), metallic pigments and color additives might cause irritation to your skin or eyes. Test a small area of the skin in advance to alert you to an allergy or reaction before attempting wide application.
- Avoid applying products inside the eyelash line, which has been shown to increase irritation and dryness of the eye surface.
- Avoid using glitter. The plastic particles and dyes in cosmetic glitter are nontoxic, yet they are at risk of migrating onto the eye surface if applied near the eyelids.
- Craft glitter, which can contain metal or glass particles and harmful dyes, should never be used for cosmetic purposes.
For all the spookiness that masks can add to Halloween, they can be a safety hazard when not worn properly. Before heading out to trick or treat, make sure hoods and masks do not block vision in either eye and consider if they will be worn at night or in dim lighting. Even properly aligned masks can restrict peripheral vision and present a hazard for tripping on curbs or stairs.When one eye is covered, loss of depth perception can increase risk of injury, so it is safer to only wear costume eyepatches when taking pictures or standing still.
Halloween Costume Contact Lenses
Special contact lenses can certainly enhance your Halloween look by changing the color of your eyes or the appearance of your pupils. Although these costume lenses may not alter your vision, they are medical devices that require a prescription through consultation with an eye doctor. In fact, it is illegal for retailers to sell contact lenses without a prescription.
Poorly fit or improperly cleaned contact lenses can cause damage to the eye or vision. These lenses can create a lack of air flow and bacteria or deposit buildup, and friction from the lens material can result in issues such as:
- Cuts and scratches to the cornea
- Corneal ulcers
- Eye infections
- Allergic reactions
- Irreversible decrease or loss of vision
If you are interested in using costume contacts this Halloween, see an eye care specialist to determine if your eyes can safely wear lenses and get a prescription. Prescription contact lenses are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration for your safety. Avoid purchasing from websites or stores not authorized to sell medical devices such as Halloween novelty stores.
Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween and practice healthy contact lens wear and eye care. Eye infections and injuries are not only painful, they can be unsightly and expensive to treat. Keep your Halloween festive and fun by staying mindful of these costume considerations.