Ten Tips to Keep Halloween Safe

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Don’t let your Halloween fun turn into one that haunts you.

Will you be Lady GaGa or a ghoul, vampire or witch this Halloween? Don’t let the use of decorative contact lenses leave you with a haunting eye injury.

The decorative contact lenses may enhance the effect of the costume by making the wearer’s eyes appear to glow in the dark, create the illusion of vertical “cat eyes,” or change the wearer’s eye color. Improper use can result in corneal ulcers, corneal abrasion, vision impairment, and blindness.

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With Halloween approaching, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has joined eye care professionals—including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists and the American Optometric Association—in discouraging consumers from using decorative contact lenses.

In spite of the fact that it is illegal to sell decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription, the FDA says the lenses are sold on the Internet and in retail shops and salons —particularly around Halloween.

Here are 10 tips to keep Halloween safe:

  1. Make sure you are able to move safely in your costume. The costume shouldn’t “trip” you or cause you to fall over.
  2. Wear costumes made of fire-retardant materials; look for “flame resistant” on the label. If you make your costume, use flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon.
  3. Costumes used for trick-or-treating should be visible in the dark. Wear bright, reflective costumes or add strips of reflective tape.
  4. It is safer to wear makeup and hats than masks which can obscure vision.
  5. Test the makeup you plan to use by putting a small amount on your arm a couple of days in advance. If you get a rash, redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation where you applied it, that’s a sign you may be allergic to it.
  6. Don’t wear decorative contact lenses unless you have seen an eye care professional and gotten a proper lens fitting and instructions for using the lenses.
  7. Before leaving home, give the child a flashlight or glow sticks to aid the child in seeing in the dark and in being seen.
  8. Beware of carved pumpkins with candles. Costumes can catch on fire.
  9. Parents should always carefully inspect treats before letting their children eat them. Unwrapped candies or treats should be discarded. If your child has a peanut or food allergy, inspect the goodies with the allergy in mind.
  10. Not all candies and treats are good for all ages. Very young children shouldn't have small, hard items such as chewing gum, peanuts or hard candies as these can be choking hazards.

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Sources
Food and Drug Administration
American Academy of Ophthalmology

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