How to Protect Your Eyes and Halloween

Halloween is a great time for all ages with its traditions of trick or treating and costumes. The wrong approach to having fun can have scary consequences, especially for our eyes. The safety precautions you can take to have a scary Halloween are explained by Corinne Casey, O.D. at Wilmer Eye Institute.

Halloween Makeup

You can use makeup as a last-minute or important component of a well-planned costume. Whatever the circumstance, make sure you use cosmetics close to the eyes.

  • Make sure you carefully choose the makeup that you use. Also, be aware of possible irritations to your eyes and skin from certain ingredients, such as preservatives (including parabens or benzalkonium chloride), color additives, metallic pigments, and fragrances. Before applying large amounts of makeup, it is worth patch testing a small area on your skin.
  • Avoid putting products in the eyelash line. This can cause irritation and dryness.
  • Avoid using glitter. Cosmetic glitter’s plastic particles and dyes are not toxic, but they can migrate onto the eyes if they are applied to the eyelids. Craft glitter can be made from metal or glass particles, as well as harmful dyes.

Casey says that patients have reported eyelid irritations, corneal scratching, and allergic reactions to false eyelashes or glitter-based makeup. “The eyelids, eye surface and skin around the eyes are more susceptible to irritation that skin on the other parts of the body.”

Halloween Costume Accessories

A useful accessory is often an important part of the costume. An accessory such as a witch’s wand, or a pirate’s sword could complete the look. These extras, which can sometimes be long and pointed, can pose a danger to the eyes in places where it is difficult to see or in crowds. Consider accessories that are flexible and short, such as foam.

Halloween Masks

While masks are fun for Halloween, they can pose a safety risk if not properly worn. Make sure that masks and hoods don’t block the view of either eye before you go out trick-or-treating. This is especially important if you will be wearing them at night or under dim lighting. Casey says that even properly aligned masks can block peripheral vision, causing a danger for tripping over curbs and stairs.

If one eye is covered, it can cause loss of depth perception, which can lead to injury. It is better to wear only costume eyepatches while taking photos or standing still.

Halloween Costume Contact Lenses

Contact lenses that change the color or appearance of your eyes can enhance your Halloween look. These costume lenses won’t affect your vision but they can be used to enhance it. They are medical devices and require prescriptions from an eye doctor. It is against the law for retailers to sell contact lens without a prescription.

Contact lenses that are not properly fitted or cleaned can cause vision and eye damage. Contact lenses can cause problems such as:

  • Eyelash injuries and cuts
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Eye infections
  • Allergy reactions
  • Vision loss or irreversible decline

Casey says that contact lens wear can cause irritations or eye dryness in people with allergies or pre-existing conditions. “In severe cases, corneal scarring caused by contact lens complications may permanently reduce vision or require extensive treatment.”

To use costume contacts for Halloween, consult an eye specialist to see if you can safely wear lenses. The Food and Drug Administration regulates prescription contact lenses to ensure your safety. Only buy from authorized retailers who can dispense contact lens prescriptions. Avoid buying from websites and stores that do not sell medical devices such as gas stations, flea markets, or Halloween novelty shops.

Additional Safety Tips for Contact Lenses

These are some general tips for wearing contact lenses this Halloween.

  • Don’t share contacts lenses with anyone else.
  • Contact solution is the best way to clean your contact lenses. Never use tap water.
  • Before you go to bed, remove your contact lenses.
  • Contact lenses should be removed immediately if you notice any irritation, reddening, or decrease in vision. Consult your eye doctor for further guidance.

Eye injuries and infections can not only be painful but also unsightly and costly to treat. These costume considerations will ensure that Halloween is fun and festive.

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