It’s Halloween Safety Month and we’re unpacking the ghoulish ways you may be putting yourself and your eyes in danger. Last year, the National Retail Federation estimated that Americans spent over $9 billion on Halloween, with a large proportion of that money being used to purchase elaborate costumes. But going to extremes to create an incredible costume can also create scary health problems that include dangerous eye infections, injuries. and even loss of vision.

Trends to Avoid

One of the most dangerous trends in costuming is colored contact lenses that are purchased over-the-counter or online. Despite their fun look, it is illegal to buy and sell non-prescription contact lenses because of the serious danger they pose. Low safety regulation and poor quality combined with the lack of guidance and prescription from an eye doctor, threatens vision and has even resulted in several cases of partial blindness.

If you do want to wear colored contacts for Halloween, purchasing contact lenses that have been fitted for your eyes is essential. Even if you do not require a corrective prescription, obtaining one ensures that your contacts will fit your eyes’ unique shape while also being sterile, which minimizes the risk of serious infection or damage. Ophthalmology and Visual Science found that people who purchased non-prescribed lenses had a 16 times greater risk of infection than those who had obtained a prescription beforehand.

In addition to avoiding unsafe costume lenses, you should also be careful with costume makeup this Halloween as it can be particularly damaging to eye health as well. Be certain to use makeup that is safe and avoid non-makeup grade glitter that could get into eyes and scratch your cornea. Certain online discount makeup retailers have recently come under fire for using illegal ingredients and dangerous substances, so stick to trusted retailers who adhere to safety regulations. Even products available in stores, like certain glow-in-the-dark makeup sets, are known to contain dyes or ingredients that might cause irritation, pain, or allergic reactions. Be sure that all ingredients in the novelty makeup you use are FDA-approved, especially if the makeup is coming in close contact with your eyes.

With proper planning, Halloween can be a spooky, fun, and most importantly, safe holiday for all who celebrate. When it comes to your eyes, however, be sure that any product you put on or near your eyes is absolutely safe. If you do want to wear colored contacts, be sure to stop by our office to get a prescription rather than ordering online or over-the-counter. Call us at (518) 475-1515 to schedule an appointment today. Our friendly staff at Cornea Consultants of Albany is happy to answer any questions you may have about safe contact use and general eye health. Don’t risk your vision for one fun costume. Stay safe with prescribed lenses and sensible costume makeup.

Dr. Robert Schultze
Dr. Robert Schultze
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Schultze received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in 1994, where he was distinguished with the Lamport Biomedical Research Award. Upon completion of ophthalmology residency at Albany Medical College in 1998, Dr. Schultze elected to further his education with one additional year of specialty fellowship training in Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery at the Albany Medical College. Dr. Schultze has been appointed Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of Cornea, Cataract, and Refractive Surgery at the Albany Medical Center Department of Ophthalmology where he teaches medical students, residents, and fellows the latest diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. He also serves as Ophthalmology Residency Program Director, Director of Medical Student Education in Ophthalmology, and Director of the Cornea Fellowship Program. Dr. Schultze is Medical Director and a founding partner of his medical practice, Cornea Consultants of Albany. He also serves as Medical Director of TLC Laser Eye Center as well as the Lions Eye Bank at Albany and has served on the Northeastern Association for the Blind at Albany’s Board of Directors.

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