Risk of injury or death, as a result of being hit by a car, is significantly higher around Halloween, studies show.

Doctors of optometry offer tips for safe trick-or-treating

Doctors of optometry don't want to rain on the parade of galloping goblins, primping princesses and soaring superheroes on the sidewalks and streets of their communities this Halloween.

But they do want trick-or-treaters to see their way to a safe and ghoulishly good time. Better safe than end up in the emergency room after a close call with a car whose driver doesn't see you in the dark, or land at your optometrist's office with an irritation in your eye from the makeup complementing your costume.

"Studies have shown that a child's risk of injury or death, as a result of being hit by a car, in particular, is significantly higher around Halloween, so be sure that your children are able to see well and be seen when they begin trick-or-treating," says Sue Lowe, O.D., chair of the AOA's Health Promotions Committee.

Snowy Range Vision Center in Laramie, Wyoming, where Dr. Lowe practices, annually prepares its community in a letter to the editor of its local newspaper. "Snowy Range Vision Center would like to ensure a fun and safe Halloween for you and your family!"

Dr. Lowe and Julie Toon, O.D., who practices in Wichita, Kansas, offer the following tips on how to have a safe Halloween:

View through a Halloween mask
  • Trick-or-treat during the day to ensure proper lighting and better navigation of the sidewalks.
  • If you are going trick-or-treating at night, bring a flashlight so paths are clearly lit. Flashlights also make children more visible to drivers.
  • Ensure that costumes are bright by adorning them with reflective tape for increased visibility by drivers.
  • Young trick-or-treaters should be accompanied by an adult so that they can be assisted.
  • Wear costumes that fit properly or do not drag on the ground creating a tripping hazard.
  • Ensure that any hats, scarves or ties are secure so as not to hinder vision. Masks can create blind spots.
  • Be careful with pointed or sharp props, such as swords or wands.
  • Be careful when using decorative contact lenses. Contact lenses are medical devices and can cause vision loss if not used safely. See your optometrist who can evaluate fit and contacts.
  • Obey all traffic laws, whether driving or walking
  • Use makeup with care. Use hypoallergenic makeup and avoid the eyes. Have wipes handy should the makeup begin to run or melt.

"Most of all, I would tell my patients to be safe and have fun!" says Dr. Toon.

Learn more about the potential damage to your eyesight from illegal, non-prescription decorative contact lenses.

October 19, 2017

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