Halloween is a time for costumes, parties and pumpkins! Unfortunately, it’s also a time for sight-related hazards. Here are some tips to ensure that you and your little goblins enjoy a safe and happy Halloween!
Be Seen and Be Safe
With the autumn season comes shorter days and darker nights. Visibility is limited in the later hours of the day which makes it harder for pedestrians to be seen. About 10% of all pedestrian traffic injuries involve children 6 to 15 years old and occur between 3 pm and 7 pm. Traditional Halloween activities such as trick-or-treating increase this risk because there are more children on the street and the excitement takes their focus away from traffic safety.
Tips to avoid injury:
- Wear bright, reflective clothing or decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape. BC Doctors of Optometry have created a “Be Seen. Be Safe” campaign for Halloween. Parents are encouraged to pick up free “Be Seen. Be Safe” reflective stickers for their children’s costumes at the Optomeyes clinic in West Vancouver.
- Avoid costumes that restrict movement of the head, so children can still easily look both ways before crossing the street. To further decrease risk, don’t crisscross the street while trick-or-treating – go down one side of the street, then back up on the other side.
- Ensure that the path to your door is well-lit for trick-or-treaters and free of obstacles. Carry a flashlight with you just in case!
- Keep young children away from firecrackers and sparklers, which can cause eye injury and vision loss.
Cosmetic Contact Lenses
Health Canada has warned consumers about the risks of using cosmetic or non-corrective contact lenses. Many people don’t realize that contact lenses are medical devices, particularly when they are used for decorative purposes rather than to correct sight. Without a proper assessment and fitting by an optometrist, cosmetic contact lenses can obscure vision and increase risk of serious complications such as corneal scratches, allergic reactions, conjunctivitis and other bacterial infections. Most of these complications are due to improper use or fit, and can lead to permanent damage to the eyes, including vision loss. Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if your child is adamant about using decorative contact lenses.
- If you have an option between face paint and a mask, avoid the mask as it will create blindspots in your child’s vision. Use hypo-allergenic makeup and face paint, and test it in a small area first. Cosmetics should never be shared, especially eye cosmetics. Avoid putting make-up too close to the eye to decrease the chance of eye irritation. Finally, don’t forget to remove it before bedtime!
- Be careful with pointed props, such as spears, swords, and wands to avoid an eye injury. If your child does get poked in the eye, thoroughly inspect it for any signs of redness, pain or decreased vision. Eye injuries may be more serious than they look. If your child reports pain or blurred vision in the eye or if the eye looks discoloured, swollen or bloodshot, you should consult your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Optomeyes Eye Care wishes you and yours a safe and Happy Hallowe’en!
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