Ophthalmologists warn against costumed contact for Halloween | Health, Medicine and Fitness

Think twice before sprucing up your Halloween costume with something goofy over or near your eyes.

Ophthalmologists are on their toes around Halloween because cheaters encounter eye problems every year. So many people end up seeing doctors for Halloween-related issues that the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends thinking twice about adding contact lenses to a costume.

The consequences of amplifying a suit with contact lenses can include serious eye infections and even loss of vision.

“If they don’t fit well, or if they’re not used correctly, or if they’re not cleaned, the eye itself can experience stress which can lead to problems,” the eye said. Dr. Michelle Andreoli, spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and ophthalmologist at the Wheaton, Illinois, Eye Clinic.

Costume lenses should be prescribed and fitted by a professional just like regular lenses. These lenses can be particularly thick, Andreoli said. “There is not enough oxygen moving through the lens, and without adequate oxygen supply to the eye, the eye loses its oxygen supply, and this can lead to cell death and infection,” she said.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people buy decorative lenses with a prescription from retailers that sell products approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. With a professional fit, even children can safely wear costume lenses if they’re able to wear regular contact lenses, Andreoli said. She brings in young patients to get lenses fitted with little black cats on the lens, or flames, or the pupil bleached to look like a zombie.

Ill-fitting contact lenses can scratch the cornea, the outer layer of the eye, which can increase susceptibility to bacteria and viruses. A corneal transplant may even be necessary, and extreme cases can lead to loss of vision.

“These infections from contact lens misuse can be blinding,” Andreoli said. “They are quite difficult to treat. Once someone has had a very serious infection, the end result is often something as extreme as corneal transplant surgery to save vision.”

The group of ophthalmologists note that non-prescription contact lenses are available at costume stores, gas stations and online, and they caution against packaging promises such as “one size fits all” or “no need to see a doctor”.

And definitely don’t use the contacts your friend used last year. Sharing contacts can spread germs and create contagious conditions like conjunctivitis.

Beyond lenses, haunted houses can also be harmful to the eyes. The fog that some use for special effects can create symptoms such as eye irritation and throat problems, even bronchitis-like symptoms. People with asthma, in particular, should avoid haunted houses with water-based fog machines, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

And don’t forget the false eyelashes. Andreoli recently saw a patient who had attached false eyelashes with glue that created a corneal wound. “It was annoying and awful,” she said.

Also, Andreoli said many eye injuries are caused by things like “kids aren’t careful with their pirate sword, or they were having fun, playing lightsaber, and someone has a lightsaber. in the eye”.

Adults are not immune to accidents in the dark.

“Even if you walk into something as simple as a haystack, organic matter carries a litany of organisms that don’t belong in the eye,” she said. “A tree branch, a piece of hay, a clever placement of a plastic hatchet – these things can be devastating.”