With Halloween lurking around the corner, much of the fun is creating a costume full of fright or magical delight! And many kids and adults are embellishing their costumes with everything from dangerous contraband lenses to makeup that looks like blood on eyes that can cause infection to eyelashes that need glue next to delicate eye tissue.
There’s no fun in sporting an eye injury with your costume! Emergency rooms become crowded every year at this time as a result of injuries from face masks that obstruct a person’s field of vision.
Here are tips to avoid being an honorary pirate, wearing an eye patch for weeks because of an eye injury.
The following information came from Dr. Brian Kahn, Kahn Eye Group, 3120 Maple Drive, Atlanta, GA 30305; 404-233-3267:
- Don't Wear Decorative (Non-Prescription) Contact Lenses: Purchasing decorative contact lenses online or in flea markets without a proper eye examination can be very dangerous. Without proper corneal measurements, the lenses can fit improperly (too tight or too loose), which could initiate a lack of oxygen supply to the cornea (hypoxia). This can lead to corneal vascularization - (blood vessels growing into the cornea) and corneal ulcer formation, which allows bacteria to invade the corneal tissue and can cause extreme scarring and permanent loss of vision.
- Utilizing the decorative lens for Halloween, such as the “Wild Eyes” has the potential to decrease the peripheral visual field of the individual wearing the lens. Basically, the design placed upon the contact lens prohibits the patient from seeing around it and can be dangerous if enough vision is obstructed from the contact lens and /or the masks used in the costume.
- Consumers who purchase these lenses are not instructed in how to clean and disinfect their contact lenses properly to remove the bacteria that has been attached and absorbed by the lenses. If these lenses are not disinfected, the potential for bacterial infection could be extremely high and dangerous over time. If blurred vision, redness, discomfort, swelling or discharge occurs, discontinue use of the contact lens immediately and see a physician sooner rather than later, as these may be signs of serious eye issues such as corneal abrasion, conjunctivitis, or corneal ulcer.
- We’re all for eyelash enhancement. Fake lashes, lash extensions, lash tinting — why not? But glues around your eyes must be used with extreme caution.
- Many costumes don’t seem complete without a wand or sword. But kiddos on a sugar high and objects that can easily injure a child’s eye don't always mix. In addition, other objects and props like feathers or other decorations with spines or wires can inadvertently poke a child’s eye.
- Carry a damp washcloth. Kids will often perspire while running around with their costumes and makeup that starts out away from the eye can run and smear, irritating the eyes. Ensure face paint and makeup is removed before bed. Sleeping in makeup can lead to stye formation or irritate the eyes overnight.
Dr. Brian A. Kahn, a native of Atlanta, is a board certified optometrist who specializes in contact lenses, pre/post LASIK, keratoconus, dry eye disease, glaucoma and diabetic and hypertensive eye disease.