Halloween Eye Safety

Halloween is a fun time of year with all the many sweet treats, parties, and the chance to dress in costume, and some of us even dress our pets in cute Halloween costumes. But there are precautions that you should take so this fun holiday doesn’t cause you eye problems.

Makeup and face paint

Makeup or face paint can be a good alternative to a mask because there is no obstruction of vision that sometimes occurs with masks. However, be sure the makeup or face paint you use is hypoallergenic and a few days before your Halloween party, do a spot test on a small patch of skin on the arm to make sure there is no allergic reaction.

Read the ingredient list on your makeup or face paint carefully. Some products contain heavy metals that can include arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead. All of those can be toxic in large amounts. Lead might be listed as kohl kajal or surma. The FDA has identified those as illegal color additives. This FDA site has more information on these illegal additives.

If face paint or makeup gets into the eyes, flush the eyes thoroughly with saline solution or water. If eye irritation persists after thoroughly flushing the eyes, consult your eye care professional.

Decorative contact lenses

Decorative contact lenses can cause serious damage. All contact lenses, even those that do not correct vision but are only used to change eye color, are considered medical devices by the FDA and that means they must be subject of a cleared premarket application by the FDA before they can be sold.

All contact lenses require a prescription. Any that do not are being sold illegally. Costume stores, beauty supply stores, or salons are not authorized to sell contact lenses. These types of contact lenses have a higher risk of causing an eye infection or other serious eye problems such as corneal abrasions.

This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has more cautions about using decorative contact lenses.

If you want to use decorative contact lenses, plan ahead and get a prescription from an eye care professional for the colored contact lenses you want to complement your costume.

False eyelashes

The glue that adheres false eyelashes can sometimes cause an allergic reaction. Don’t sleep in false eyelashes. Doing so increases the risk of natural eyelash loss, eye infection, and build-up of dirt and germs in the false eyelashes.

Avoid using glitter

The glitter particles are nontoxic but there is a risk of them migrating onto the eye’s surface and causing irritation or corneal scratches. The eyelids are more prone to irritation than other skin on the body.

Masks and costume props

If your costume includes a mask or hood make sure your visibility isn’t compromised. It is common to trip and fall when you cannot see well.

Props such as plastic swords, wands, pitchforks, guns, or sports equipment can cause a contusion or corneal abrasion if the eye is hit with them.

Final thoughts

Following these precautions can eliminate any potential dangers to you or your children. Stay safe and have a Happy Halloween!

Gregory Scimeca, M.D.
Ophthalmologist and Medical Director
The Eye Professionals

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