Optometrist Or Treat: 3 Ways Halloween Can Be Bad For Your Child's Eyes

There are certain risks associated with Halloween. As children don their costumes and knock on door after door, most parents are concerned with the possibility that their children's collected candy may have been tampered with, or that they aren't wearing enough reflective gear to warn motorists of their presence. What most parents don't take into consideration, however, is how their children's eyes will be affected while they're out trick-or-treating. Read on for 3 very real eye health risks associated with Halloween and how to protect your child from them.

Swords, Brooms, And The Like

When you take large crowds of children and mix in sword, broom, and wand-accessorized costumes, it's bound to result in a few eye injuries. Make sure your child can see oncoming threats by not choosing a bulky mask that could block their peripheral vision. Also, avoid eye patches and ill-fitting wigs that could slip down over their eyes.

Try to avoid adding long, hard objects to your child's costume, but if they must have a wand, broom, or other stereotypical Halloween accessory, choose one that's made of a soft material such as foam. Also, the shorter the accessory is, the lesser its reach is and the less dangerous it will be to your child's eyes and the eyes of the children around him or her.

Face Paint And Non-Prescription Contacts

Face paint doesn't block your child's vision like many masks can, but it has its own drawbacks. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the color additives in Halloween face paint, but it doesn't regulate the actual paint. While generally considered safe, contaminated face paint can and does make it onto store shelves. Contaminated face paint can cause skin rashes, and if it happens to make its way to your child's eyes it could cause a serious infection.

If the face paint you plan to put on your child this Halloween looks or smells funny, don't use it. Test any face paint you plan to use on a small area of your child's arm a few days before Halloween. If your child's skin doesn't react to the makeup, then it's safe to put on their face, but steer clear of their eyes. 

If you're planning on going all out on your child's Halloween costume this year and incorporating non-prescription colored contacts, forget about it. Eyes are extremely fragile organs, so anything that goes in them should be created under tightly controlled measures. Contacts need to fit right and they need to be sterile or else you risk damaging the eyes via infection or corneal abrasion. 

In fact, while you can still find them at many novelty shops and seasonal Halloween stores, non-prescription contact lenses are actually illegal to sell. If you've purchased non-prescription contacts for your child's Halloween costume, ditch them and report the store you purchased them from to the FDA.

So Many Sweets

Chances are you're well aware that excess sugar can cause tooth decay and weight problems, but did you know it can boost your child's risk of developing a number of eye diseases later in life?

When the body gets too much sugar, it starts producing too much insulin. Excess insulin in the body causes inflammation around blood vessels, and can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. 

No, a single Halloween night in which your child eats too much candy won't ruin their eyes, but if they form a habit out of eating lots of sugary treats, they will have an increased chance of developing eye problems in the future.

Many dentists host programs around Halloween time encouraging children to turn in some of their sugary bounty for money or a non-edible prize. Ask your child to take advantage of one of these programs to establish healthy habits in them while they're still young.

When Halloween night comes and ghosts and goblins rule the streets, keep your child's eye safety in mind. Avoid costume accessories that could poke or damage their eyes or the eyes of other children, keep unregulated makeup and contact lenses away from their eyes, and talk them into making the health-conscious decision of trading some sugar for a treat with fewer consequences. You can click here for more info on caring for your child's eye health.