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Health Information Halloween Eye Safety

While it may be fun to dress as a pirate with an eye patch for one night, wearing a bandage over your eye for weeks because of an injury is another story. Eye safety should be a year-round concern, but Halloween can pose additional hazards.

"You have to be extra vigilant at Halloween to keep the eyes free from injury," says Dino P. Rumoro, DO, clinical chairman and assistant professor, department of emergency medicine at Rush University Medical Center. "One of the last places you want to be on Halloween night is visiting the emergency department."

Avoiding Eye Injury
During Halloween festivities, both children and adults should be careful of things that can injure the eye such as:

  • Sharp objects (fake knives, swords, spears, wands, etc.)
  • Things that may inadvertently poke your eye (feathers and other decorations with spines or wires)
  • Anything that may get in your eyes and irritate them (Halloween makeup, hair from wigs, etc.)
    • Buy hypoallergenic makeup
    • Do not get makeup in or too near eyes
      • Test the makeup on a small piece of skin a few days before you plan to use it to see if there's any reaction
      • Take off makeup before going to bed, following directions on the original package
  • Also, be careful if using cosmetic contact lenses
    • Only buy them with a prescription
    • Make sure that you only handle them with clean hands
    • Clean them if they touch any surface
    • Do not share them
    • Do not sleep with contacts in eyes

Seeing and Being Seen
Not only are your eyes at risk of injury, your body is also at risk if your eyes become obstructed. "Among the reasons for visits to the emergency department on Halloween are falls and injuries from not being able to see properly or when vision has been temporarily obstructed," says Rumoro.

That's why it's better for children to wear makeup rather than masks, which can get in the way of clear vision. You should also avoid:

  • Wigs
  • Floppy hats
  • Eye patches or anything that blocks vision

You should secure any hats and scarves well, so that they don't become loose and obstruct vision.

Another way to enhance effective vision is to consider trick-or-treating only during the day. Not only will the kids be able to see better, they will be more visible to motorists.

"One of the most import things on Halloween, and any time you're out after dark, is to make yourself visible," says Rumoro. "If children are out in the evening they should wear light colors and reflective tape, and carry flashlights to increase their visibility."

For other safety information for Halloween, read "Halloween Safety Tips."

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Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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