Halloween is a festive time that people of all ages look forward to, but it can be shockingly hazardous to your eyes. Common costume accessories, including contact lenses, eyelashes, makeup and masks can lead to a frightful variety of vision problems.
Keep reading to learn some of the ways Halloween can be hard on your eyes and get tips for keeping your eyes safe this Halloween season.Costume Contact Lenses
Did you know that decorative contact lenses aren’t just eye jewelry, but medical devices? In fact, it is illegal to sell any type of contact lens without a valid prescription. This includes the cool novelty contacts that make a cat, vampire or alien costume come to life.
When costume contact lenses are not individually fitted for you, they can cause painful infections. They can also leave ulcers, abrasions, sores and scars on the cornea (the outer surface of your eye). Wearing poor-fitting, over-the-counter decorative contacts can even lead to blindness. That’s why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the sale of these medical devices.
Never buy contact lenses from the following:
- Beauty supply stores
- Halloween stores
- Costume shops
- Party supply stores
- Flea markets
- Convenience stores
- Street vendors
- Any internet site that does not require a valid contact lens prescription
What should you do if your costume is not complete without novelty lenses? Make an appointment for a contact lens fitting, then use your prescription to purchase high-quality costume lenses. This will cost a little more than buying generic fashion lenses online or from the corner store. However, preserving your vision is priceless.
Note that even quality lenses bought with a prescription can be irritating to your eyes, especially if you aren’t accustomed to wearing contacts. So, try not to wear them for more than four or five hours at a time. Wash your hands before inserting and removing your lenses and be sure to store them properly.
False eyelashes launch many Halloween costumes from ordinary to fabulous. However, they can also be irritating to your eyes. It takes a steady hand and a good bit of practice to properly affix false eyelashes yourself, so work carefully until you get the hang of it. Other potential issues from wearing faux lashes include:
- Getting glue in your eye
- Scraping your cornea with tweezers
- Lash adhesive allergies
- Pink eye (from your fingers or unclean materials)
- Corneal abrasions from overly thick or long lashes dipping into your eye
- Irritation and tearing if fake eyelash strands shed into your eye
Make sure to wash your hands and observe proper hygiene while applying and removing lashes. Try to limit the amount of time you wear false lashes, and remove them gently to avoid pulling out your natural eyelashes. Consider hiring a professional aesthetician to apply eyelash extensions, especially if you’d like the look to last beyond October 31.
Makeup and Face Paint
Makeup and face paint are a vital component of many Halloween costumes. They can also be highly irritating to sensitive eye tissues, particularly if you aren’t used to wearing makeup on a regular basis.
When choosing Halloween eye makeup, be sure to only use cosmetics that are designed for use around the eyes. And don’t try to cut corners by using last year’s Halloween makeup, as it can harbor harmful bacteria just a few months after opening. Only purchase non-toxic face paints and avoid applying them too close to your eyes.
It’s important to never share makeup—and to use your own brushes and applicators. Avoid using glittery, metallic or flaky makeup in the eye zone. If you’re prone to allergies, be sure to test your Halloween makeup a few days before the event to avoid any scary Halloween surprises.
Finally, be sure to remove all eye makeup before bed. Follow these tips for safe eye makeup or face paint removal:
- Use petroleum jelly or cold cream to gently dissolve eye makeup. Wipe it away with a soft tissue or cloth.
- Wash your face—including your eyelids—with tear-free baby shampoo. Rinse well.
- Thick face paint may make you reach for an exfoliating facial scrub. Be sure to avoid using cleansers with exfoliating particles around your eyes.
As many of us have learned through the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing a mask can make you more likely to touch your face. Just the presence of a mask can trigger an uncomfortable impulse to touch your eyes. This can transfer viruses and bacteria from your fingertips into your system, where they reproduce and make you sick.
Whether it’s a Halloween mask or an everyday one, resist the temptation to touch your eyes. If you must, wash your hands first. Always wash your hands after touching door knobs, elevator buttons, food serving utensils and the like. Try to avoid over-adjusting your mask by choosing one properly sized for your face.
Air flowing behind a full-face Halloween mask can also make your eyes feel dry and gritty. If you notice this sensation, soothe your eyes with over-the-counter eye moisturizing drops. If you wear glasses, any type of mask can trap the warm air you exhale and fog your lenses. Anti-fog lenses can help. You can also try washing your glasses in soapy water and letting them air-dry for a DIY fogging preventative.
Follow these steps to keep your eyes protected this Halloween! If you'd like to schedule an appointment at Allied Eye, please Call or Text (423) 855-8522. Our team of eye care professionals would love to take care of your eyes.