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Eye Safety for Halloween

Prevent Blindness Ohio wants to remind everyone to make sure all Halloween purchases are safe and responsible.

“As the Halloween season approaches it is important to keep in mind an issue that can easily get lost in the craze of creepy costumes: eye safety”, said Sherill Williams, President & CEO of Prevent Blindness Ohio. “Colored or decorative non-corrective contact lenses have become a popular element of Halloween costumes. While these devices can add a fun flourish to a costume, they can also result in severe eye injury if used without the appropriate guidance of an eye care professional.”

The decorative contact lenses, which offer no visual correction, are sometimes being illegally sold by non-eye care professionals at corner stores, costume shops, beauty shops and video outlets without an appropriate prescription and fitting. Children and teens are able to purchase them without the benefit of being fitted by an eye care professional, and without learning how to properly care for these medical devices. As a result, children can suffer from devastating eye infections, scarring and even blindness.

There has been devastating outcomes from the use of cosmetic lenses without proper supervision. A 14-year-old patient nearly lost her eye after contracting a serious bacterial infection. She was hospitalized for four days and was left with a corneal scar that affected her vision. The patient later required a corneal transplant, and needs regular observation and treatment for the rest of her life.

“Many people may not be aware that it is illegal to purchase any contact lens, whether it be corrective or not, without a prescription”, said Nancy Manns, Executive Director, Ohio Optical Dispensers Board. “Contact lenses are classified as medical devices and can only be obtained through a licensed eye care professional.”

“Improper use of contacts can lead to eye infections, corneal injuries and even vision loss,” said Mark Bennett, Executive Director of the Opticians Association of Ohio.

To protect vision and avoid painful eye injuries, Prevent Blindness Ohio, the Opticians Association of Ohio and the Ohio Optical Dispenser’s Board offer these tips:

  • 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 anyone.
  • Be vigilant about older kid's appearance before letting them leave the house. If they are wearing cosmetic contacts, question them about where they got them.
  • Never wear costumes that could block vision such as some masks, wigs, hats or eye patches.
  • Always wear hypoallergenic or non-toxic make-up. Only adults should apply the make-up to children and remove it with cold cream or eye make-up remover instead of soap.
  • False eyelashes should only be applied and removed according to the manufacturers instructions on the product’s package.
  • Avoid props or accessories that have sharp edges or pointed ends such as pitchforks, spears, knives, swords or wands.

Ghost - Pumpkin clipart

For more information on Halloween safety or contact lens safety, please call Prevent Blindness Ohio at 800-301-2020 or visit www.pbohio.org.

Those who have complaints against illegal sales should contact the Optical Dispensers Board at 614-466-9709, odb@odb.ohio.gov, or fax to 614-995-5392.

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