The season of fright is upon us! October may be my favorite month because I love everything scary from zombies to ghouls to haunted houses! Of course, we all know that these scary things are about as real as the Loch Ness Monster.
Unfortunately amidst all the Halloween parties and TV specials, we seem to forget about the real dangers we face every Halloween: the dangers costumes pose to our eyes. It may sound like a bit of a stretch, but you’d be surprised by what external factors can affect our eyes, especially around Halloween.
Your eye health is important, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your rockin’ costume for it! To protect yourself and your kids this Halloween, find out what can cause harm to our eyes and how you can work around it.
Decorative Contact Lenses
Nothing screams vampire more than chilling red eyes. Unless you have some sort of eye infection, the only way to achieve this ghastly affect is with decorative contact lenses. We know the complications that come with regular contacts that you can just imagine how dangerous non-FDA approved decorative lenses have the potential to be.
Decorative contact lenses, also known as colored contacts or fashion contacts, are often sold as over the counter cosmetics; something the FDA has frequently condemned. The FDA point out on their website that any store that market and sell their decorative contacts as anything but medical devices are breaking the law.
The FDA highly recommends getting a prescription for decorative contact lenses to keep your eyes safe. However, most of us don’t have time to go to our eye doctors just for a costume piece.
Like a lot of Halloween costumes, these decorative contacts are made cheaply with cheap material with the intention of being worn once or twice. But even such little time wearing them can cause irritation and infections.
Last October, British woman Jess Wilby, purchased a pair of decorative contact lenses for her Medusa Halloween costume. Within a few hours of wearing the contacts, Wilby’s eyes began to burn, they became swollen and she was unable to open her right eye after some puss had oozed out and sealed it shut.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Wilby’s symptoms are very common for those who wear over the counter decorative contact lenses. These contacts can be excruciatingly painful and are hardly worth the trouble for a Halloween costume. But if you absolutely want a pair, ask your doctor for a prescription.
Makeup can make or break a costume. You can’t very well dress up as a zombie without looking like your skin and body are decaying. It’s the quintessential element that defines a zombie; that and eating brains.
The best way to achieve this look is with Halloween makeup. This makeup is specially made for the Halloween season to create wild, crazy and unrealistic looks for whatever your costume calls for. Some Halloween makeup can produce some horrifying results. I would link a photo, but it’s truly too scary, so Google search it at your own risk.
The reason this novelty Halloween makeup is so dangerous is because of the chemicals used to make it. Halloween makeup found in pop-up Halloween stores and discount stores, like a dollar store are often not regulated or FDA approved.
When using non-approved makeup, you run the risk of irritating your skin and developing a bad reaction to the chemicals. Mercury is an ingredient often found in novelty makeup, which can be absorbed through the skin and into the body.
Mercury is a toxic metal which can lead to poisoning if too much is accumulated in the body. But what most people don’t know is that mercury can also have a damaging effect on the retina, cornea and the macula of your eye.
Mercury promotes free radicals to form, especially in the eye. Free radicals can cause severe damage and sometimes death to the cells in the body. When cell damage happens in the eye, it can lead to numerous vision impairments and conditions.
Novelty makeup around the eyes can also lead to bacteria build up. This can cause painful infections in the eye and around it. Wearing novelty makeup bears the same risk as if you were to use a four year old mascara on your eyelashes. At that point, you’re basically inviting bacteria in.
The best way to avoid the pain of novelty makeup is to stay away from it unless it has been FDA approved. FDA approved Halloween makeup has been tested and cleared for safe use. It may cost a little more, but it’s worth the price to save your eyes.
Unlike decorative contact lenses and Halloween makeup, costume masks don’t cause any damage to your eye health. However, they still pose a danger as they often impair our vision.
This section is more for those with children who will be trick or treating this year. You want them to be safe as they zoom from one house to another. Sometimes, watching out for cars isn’t their top priority. With free candy at stake, this is understandable.
Sure, you can cover them with as much reflective tape as you want so that cars can see them, but your child should be able to see the cars too. Halloween masks cover the entire face, which means that your child’s peripheral vision is completely impaired.
Lack of periphery coupled with the dark skies and a sugar high, your child is unsafe in that mask. The best way to fix this is to find a clever way to use FDA approved makeup instead of a mask. Or is you or your child absolutely needs a mask, consider cutting the eye holes in the mask a little bigger so that your vision isn’t compromised.
Halloween should be scary for all the fun reasons. Don’t put your eye health at risk when you don’t have to. Get prescription decorative contacts, FDA approved makeup and try to stay away from Halloween masks as much as you can.
Have a happy and safe Halloween!