Eye Safety for Halloween
Vision Safety on Halloween
Plastic Swords and Eye Injuries
Halloween Vision Dangers
Halloween is an exciting time of year for children and adults. Parties, costumes, and trick-or-treating are highly anticipated by the young and old alike. Unfortunately, Halloween is a dangerous time for the eyes - children are prone to infections and traumatic injury from a variety of sources. Cosmetic contact lenses, toy swords, and improperly used cosmetics are responsible for a range of vision problems ranging from minor irritation to blindness.
Eye Injuries from Costume Accessories
Many of the props that accompany costumes have the potential to cause eye injuries. Plastic swords, knives, and wands may inadvertently poke a child in the eye. One pirate costume, for example, comes with a 4 inch long rigid plastic sword embedded in the right hand. Some toy guns shoot plastic pellets and can cause eye injuries. Toy guns and swords are the worst offender for eye injuries, so parents should closely supervise children if this accessory comes with a costume.
The Dangers of Halloween Contact Lenses
Halloween Contact Lenses
Cosmetic contact lenses are popular among tweens and teens who want to obtain a realistic and shocking disguise. Unfortunately, these non-prescription cosmetic lenses often cause infections, damage to the cornea, or worse. Many eye injuries are treated each year as a result of ill-fitting lenses that cause corneal scratches and infections.
Cosmetic lenses are not fit to the individual eye, and may not come in sterilized packaging. Teenagers may share the lenses, passing eye infections from person to person. Certain bacterial infections may form, even after the contact lens is removed.
Halloween Mask Visibility
Halloween masks may limit a child's field of vision, which can cause them to trip or fall. Verify the eye openings are wide and are not occluded by plastic. A child should be able to see with their peripheral vision when wearing a mask. If a warped, clear plastic covers the eye holes, this may need to be cut away for a child to see properly.
Face makeup is preferable to a mask, as it does not occlude the vision in any way. Take care to keep makeup away from the eye area.
Scarves, floppy hats, and other accessories may also limit a child's field of vision. Carefully check a child's costume to ensure they can see clearly before heading out for trick-or-treating!
Prevent Trips and Falls
Avoid Face Makeup Near the Eyes
Halloween makeup should always be applied outside of the lash line. The makeup should not come into contact with the eyes, as infection or irritation may result.
Do not dye eyelashes or eyebrows.There is not a single safe hair dye product available for this purpose - any dye has the potential to cause blindness. Dyes purchased online may claim they are "safe" for eyelashes and eyebrows, but the FDA does not recognize any safe dye for the eye area. Many mail-order or online eyelash dyes contain coal tar, which will cause blindness.
False Eyelash Dangers
All false eyelashes require adhesive to adhere the enhancements to the eyelids. There is absolutely no reason for a child to wear false eyelashes, and adults should carefully read all instructions on the packaging before applying the eyelashes. Allergies to the adhesive, irritation, or an eye injury could result from the use of the adhesive on the eyelids.
First Aid for Eye Injuries
Bobbing for Apples is Best Avoided
This traditional Halloween game involves placing apples into a tub of water, closing the eyes, and attempting to bite an apple and remove it from the water. Eye infections from dirty water and scratches to the eyes are a fairly common problem associated with this game. Children who lean over with their eyes closed may hit their faces against the edge of the tub. A child may open his or her eyes as their face nears the water, causing scratches to the cornea from apple stems or other debris in the water.
Broken Glow Sticks May Injure the Eyes
Eye Injuries from Glow Sticks
Glow sticks are a fantastic safety accessory, making children visible on dark nights while trick-or-treating. Children should be supervised while in possession of glow sticks, however, as the solution inside the glow sticks can cause eye irritation. Children have been known to break glow sticks open, and the solution may splash into the eyes.
Glow stick solution will generally not cause any lasting damage, but the child's eye will remain sore and will appear red for a few days after exposure. Children should be reviewed by a physician if their eyes have been splashed with this solution, as it may burn the cornea.
More by this Author
While tonsillectomies are relatively common, the recovery is grueling and longer than many parents expect it to be. What to expect after a tonsillectomy in children.
What to expect when your child has a sleep study. This is our personal experience with pediatric sleep apnea.
Surgery is typically performed for severe laryngomalacia when sleep apnea or growth failure are present. What to expect when your child has a supraglottoplasty or epiglottopexy.