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Protect Your Eyes and Celebrate Safely this Halloween

As we begin celebrating cooler fall weather and the changing of the leaves in Alabama, our children are gearing up for a big night of trick-or-treating. UAB Ophthalmology wants to share some tips for keeping you and your family safe, not to mention the excited young guests who soon will be visiting our streets and homes.

The Centers for Disease Control offers several safety recommendations to enhance kids’ safety as they trick-or-treat, including:
  • Use reflective tape on costumes to increase visibility;
  • Choose swords/knives/costume accessories that are short and flexible to reduce potential eye injuries; and
  • Bring a powerful flashlight to illuminate walkways.
“Costume makeup has become trendy in recent years,” says Shilpa Register, OD, clinical assistant professor in the UAB Department of Ophthalmology. “Remember to test it on a small spot first to confirm there is no allergic reaction. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends makeup rather than masks, which can block the child’s vision.”

To help prevent injuries, homeowners should ensure that their property provides a safe environment for trick-or-treaters. Remove any potential tripping hazards from your yard, such as toys, lawn equipment, trash, garden hoses, etc. If there are cords running across your lawn, secure them to the ground and add lighting in those areas. Make sure automatic sprinklers are turned off before dusk, and use lighting to warn visitors away from any sprinkler heads that are raised above the lawn. Remember to turn on your porch light and supplement with additional lighting to illuminate your yard, walkways, and steps.

Adults and teenagers also celebrate the season with costume parties and fall festivities. Remember that contact lenses are FDA-approved medical devices. While decorative contact lenses can add a unique touch to make your costume more authentic, they require an examination and prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. “All too often, patients purchase decorative contact lenses at beauty shops and gas stations, which can result in eye injuries or even blindness,” Dr. Register says.