It’s Halloween time and all the ghosts and ghouls come out to play. Halloween is also a busy time for ophthalmologists at the USC Roski Eye Institute because there are a lot of scary and spooky eye injuries that happen! Here are a few tips to keep those eyes safe (and maybe even the goblins away) this Hallows Eve.
Tip # 1. Halloween glitter is all fun and games until it gets in your eye
Who doesn’t like to dress up on Halloween? And fun face make up is a great way to complete that killer costume. But this kind of show make up is generally not formulated for the eye so be careful when you apply it! This counts for fake eyelashes, lash glue (this one is really no good for the eyes), glitter, glitz and other Halloween makeup.
Tip # 2. Monster contacts can do major damage to your eye
Scary cosmetic contacts are all the rage at Halloween – and even I will admit they make quite a statement. But they can also wreak all sorts of havoc on your eye including causing vision threatening infections in the cornea – which can really leave you with a scary eye. If you need this last little touch for your costume make sure that you purchase these lenses from a optical shop that stocks sterile contact lenses which can be fit appropriately for your eyes. Please take the contacts out at the end of the night. Curses to those who sleep with contacts in because its ghoulishly dangerous to the eye!
Tip #3: Beware of the Witch’s Brew
Unfortunately, a lot of the severe eye trauma we see comes secondary to too much Witch’s Brew – never a good idea. Be safe and smart when you are out showing off your wicked costume this Halloween. Have a designated driver or use a ride-share service like uber or lyft, be smart about imbibing and remember Tip 2: take your contacts out!
Tip # 4. Watch out for your Trick or Treating kiddos
Halloween is a super special day for the kids. What’s more fun than dressing up as your favorite superhero and staying up late to eat candy!? Unfortunately, pediatric ocular trauma is also common on Halloween. Masks can block peripheral vision, costume accessories like wands and swords can cause blunt trauma to eyes (ouch!), and running around in the dark is a set up for trips and falls – particularly in that slightly-too-long Princess dress. And if your child needs glasses to see keep them as part of the costume – dress them up and make it fun but ensure they’re still wearing what they need to see! All of this will keep your little monsters safe at play.
Tip # 5. Somebody put a spell on you
Uh oh…well let’s hope not! Anyways, the best kind of spell is a sugar coma from Halloween candy for the little ones and Pumpkin Spice lattes for the rest of us! Enjoy Halloween costuming, trick or treating, pumpkins and candy – but do it all safely and keep your eyes out of trouble by following the above tips! Happy Halloween, little goblins!
Dr. Jesse Berry is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and Associate Residency Program Director at LAC+USC Medical Center. She is residency and fellowship trained and a member of the Society of Heed Fellows.