How to Prevent Eye Injuries from Costumes and Masks


Halloween is supposed to be fun, not unsafe. Yet every year, there are several hundred eye injuries related to costumes and masks that are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

boy putting in contact lensesA growing problem, particularly among young children and teens, is the use of cosmetic contact lenses. A popular variety are those that make you look like you have scary cats' eyes. This can be a very cool fashion statement, especially on Halloween, but there are real dangers associated with these lenses, says Daniel D. Garrett, spokesperson for Prevent Blindness America (PBA).

Over-the-counter purchase of these lenses can lead to serious eye complications. These problems include decreased flow of oxygen to the cornea, bacterial infections, swelling, eye pain, sensitivity to light, conjunctivitis (pink eye), corneal scratches, corneal ulceration, and loss of clarity. If left untreated, these conditions can result in permanent eye damage and loss of sight.


PBA reminds kids and parents:

-Always visit a licensed eye care professional to be fitted for cosmetic contact lenses.

-Never buy contact lenses without a prescription.

-Always clean and disinfect contact lenses according to instructions.

-Always use water-soluble cosmetics or those labeled safe for use with contact lenses. Do not apply skin creams or moisturizers too close to the eyes.

-Never wear opaque lenses if you have any problems with night vision.

-Never share or trade your contact lenses with friends.