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Eye Safety for Halloween

Updated on September 6, 2012

Vision Safety on Halloween

Keep your children's eyes safe this Halloween.
Keep your children's eyes safe this Halloween. | Source

Plastic Swords and Eye Injuries

Children who carry Halloween props like plastic swords, spears, or light sabers should be closely supervised to prevent accidental eye injuries.
Children who carry Halloween props like plastic swords, spears, or light sabers should be closely supervised to prevent accidental eye injuries. | Source

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

Halloween masks sometimes occlude vision, which can cause trips and falls. Do not allow children to wear masks with plastic over the visual field.
Halloween masks sometimes occlude vision, which can cause trips and falls. Do not allow children to wear masks with plastic over the visual field. | Source

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

The use of glow sticks should always be supervised, as children may attempt to break open the sticks. If the fluid splashes into the eyes, a corneal burn could result.
The use of glow sticks should always be supervised, as children may attempt to break open the sticks. If the fluid splashes into the eyes, a corneal burn could result. | Source

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.

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    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      Some of the props can be really dangerous, krsharp05. Apparently, one recent costume came with a four-inch-long dagger on a hand piece. Talk about dangerous! The contacts should really only be used by adults, as they are cosmetic and may not fit a teen's eyes properly. If a teen wants to use cosmetic lenses, they should consult with an ophthalmologist or optometrist to get ones that fit properly and to learn about proper hygiene and care for contacts.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Great information to share as we get close to the best holiday of the entire year! Props can be such a nightmare. I've seen kiddos with the special effect contact lenses and while they do look pretty cool, they aren't worth the risk! Voted useful and up! -K

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      Thanks, meloncauli - my son had a Storm Trooper costume one year and it came with a mask that limited vision. There was a warped, clear plastic shield over his eyes and I had to cut out the plastic so he could see! We didn't want him to trip and fall.

    • meloncauli profile image

      meloncauli 5 years ago from UK

      Very useful hub Leah. Voted interesting and shared.

    • leahlefler profile image
      Author

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      The cosmetic contact lenses are terrible, as kids can purchase them online without a prescription and the lenses may not fit their eye properly, lindacee. Teens may not know how to care for them, and end up with a severe eye infection - they simply shouldn't be used by kids.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Wow, I didn't realize the hidden eye dangers associated with Halloween costumes, props and activities. Those cosmetic contact lenses just sound like trouble! So glad you laid it all out in this Hub. Hopefully it will prevent injuries in children and adults alike. Voted up, useful and interesting.

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