Health Holiday

Protecting Your Eyes During Halloween

While it may be fun to dress as a pirate with an eye patch for one night, wearing a bandage over your eye for weeks because of an injury is another story. Eye safety should be a year-round concern, but Halloween can pose additional hazards.

Avoiding Eye Injury

During Halloween festivities, both children and adults should be careful of things that can injure the eye such as:

  • Sharp objects (fake knives, swords, spears, wands, etc.)
  • Things that may inadvertently poke your eye (feathers and other decorations with spines or wires)
  • Anything that may get in your eyes and irritate them (Halloween makeup, hair from wigs, etc.)
  • Buy hypoallergenic makeup
  • Do not get makeup in or too near eyes
  • Test the makeup on a small piece of skin a few days before you plan to use it to see if there’s any reaction
  • Take off makeup before going to bed, following directions on the original package
  • Also, be careful if using cosmetic contact lenses
  • Only buy them with a prescription
  • Make sure that you only handle them with clean hands
  • Clean them if they touch any surface
  • Do not share them
  • Do not sleep with contacts in eyes

Seeing and Being Seen

Not only are your eyes at risk of injury, your body is also at risk if your eyes become obstructed. Among the reasons for visits to the emergency department on Halloween are falls and injuries from not being able to see properly or when vision has been temporarily obstructed. That’s why it’s better for children to wear makeup rather than masks, which can get in the way of clear vision. You should also avoid:

  • Wigs
  • Floppy hats
  • Eye patches or anything that blocks vision
  • You should secure any hats and scarves well, so that they don’t become loose and obstruct vision.
  • Another way to enhance effective vision is to consider trick-or-treating only during the day.
  • Not only will the kids be able to see better, they will be more visible to motorists.

Some simple precautions can help keep Halloween safe and trauma free:

  • Don’t incorporate sharp or pointy things into your costume (even a fake spear or sword can cause injury).
  • Make sure that your vision is not obstructed. Make sure masks, wigs and other costume parts allow you to see clearly.
  • Only use hypoallergenic makeup (if you tend to have allergic reactions, test the makeup first on another body part, like an arm, a couple of days before you plan to wear it).
  • Avoid getting makeup in your eyes.
  • Don’t go to sleep with makeup on. Follow the package directions for cleaning off makeup before climbing into bed.
  • Buy reflective tape to make yourself more visible at night.
  • Carry a flashlight, which will help you see your way better, while also making you more visible.

Everyone, especially motorists, should be on the lookout for children who are out trick-or-treating. Be especially careful when backing in or out of driveways. Taking a little extra care is easy to do and it can make all the difference toward making your Halloween safe and trouble free.

For further questions please contact Heitmeier, Armani, Langhetee and Cangelosi Medical and Surgical Eyecare at (504) 368-7081.

About the author

Dr. David Heitmeier

Dr. David Heitmeier

A lifelong resident of the West Bank, David Heitmeier is a Doctor of Optometry and owns and manages one of the region's most successful clinical practices. A 1979 graduate of Holy Cross High School, Doctor Heitmeier went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Biological, Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Completing his education with a doctorate in Optometry in 1987 from the University of Houston, he chose to work in the community he loves and founded Heitmeier & Armani - Medical and Surgical Eyecare. Doctor Heitmeier's commitment to hard work and innovation has earned him the admiration of his colleagues in the field of healthcare. He has lectured on business organization and efficiency and has taught the principles of patient service and ethics around the country.

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