With October upon us, so is the season for all things spooky. Fall celebrations like Halloween mean fun activities for children, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, and eat yummy treats. Unfortunately, there are several hundred of Halloween related eye injuries reported in hospitals across the country relating to costumes, masks, contact lenses and preventable falls. There are many things families can do to ensure the children in their lives have a spook-tacular Halloween! Low Visions Specialists of Maryland and Virginia want you to “open your eyes” to prevent a night of fall fun from becoming a night spent in your local emergency room. Here’s what you can do:
Prep Your Homes: Take the time to clean up outside your home. Put away tripping hazards, such as garden hoses, toys and bikes. Be sure to clear wet leaves or other debris from your sidewalks. Keep lights on for trick-o-treaters and replace any burnt out light bulbs to ensure clear visibility at your walkway and front door. Finally, put the family pets in a room that is not close to front door traffic. This will prevent frightened animals from running away when faced with an endless parade of trick o’ treaters.
Walk the Walk: With crowded streets and children of all ages walking in your neighborhood, it’s important to practice common sense on Halloween. Be sure to cross the street at corners and pay close attention to traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross with kids. While you may want to snap that perfect Halloween photo, street crossings are a definite time to put down electronic devices and keep your head up. This will help you be more vigilant for cars that might be turning or backing up. In addition, teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars. Finally, if your kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, tell them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
Costumes Safety: Dark clothes and costumes are spooky, but they’re also difficult to see in the dark. Children should wear something reflective or attach reflective accents to their costumes to make them more visible. Whenever possible, choose face paint and makeup instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision. It’s also advisable to have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers. Head lamps are also a good option and allow for hands free lighting while you trick-or-treat.
Keep those costumes trim! Flowing materials and baggy clothing can get easily caught or stepped on. Choose practical footwear for trick-or-treating. While fancy heels or oversized clown shoes might complete a costume, well-fitting sneakers are much safer. When it comes to props, skip them. It’s always better to be hands free to hold a treat bag, grab a handrail, or better yet, a parent’s hand.
Creepy Contacts: Contact lenses are considered medical devices that require a prescription and proper fitting by an eye-care professional. Many Halloween related content lenses sold online or in beauty salons are not FDA-approved and are being sold illegally. To safely wear costume contact lenses for Halloween you should follow these guidelines:
- Get an eye exam from a licensed eye care professional. Your eyes will be properly measured, and the eye doctor will speak with you about proper contact lens care.
- Make sure you get a valid prescription that includes your measurments, a reputable brand’s names, and an expiration date.
- If you want colored contact lenses, only purchase them from a retailer who asks for a prescription.
- Follow directions for proper contact lens care, cleaning, disinfecting and regular wear.
- Never share your contact lenses with another person. Dispose of them when you are finished wearing them.
If you notice any redness, swelling, discharge, or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses and seek immediate medical attention. Eye infections can become serious quickly and sometimes the damage is not reversible.
Low Vision Specialists of Maryland and Virginia wish all our friends and followers a happy and safe Halloween! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share photos of your family enjoying this boo-tiful season using the hashtag #lowvisionhalloween2019.