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Have an Eye Safe Halloween New York, NY

Brush Up Before You Dress Up

Halloween is one of the most fun times of the year for children and adults alike. When else do you get to dress up as anyone (or anything) you want, socialize with friends and eat lots of treats? Nevertheless, lurking behind those costumes and all that fun are some hidden dangers that you need to be aware of and many of them could affect your eyes and vision. Brush up on these preventative measures by Dr. Emil Chynn of Park Avenue LASEK, a premier LASIK / LASEK / PRK center in Manhattan, to help you and your children to stay safe and enjoy the holiday. 

Masks

Masks can really make or break a costume but they can also increase danger, especially for children. Masks that block visibility or the ability to breathe can be extremely dangerous. You want to make sure that you and your children have a complete, unobstructed visual field, especially if they will be crossing streets. Dr. Chynn will give you a free pair of “Wild Eyes” or “Crazy Eyes” contact lenses, so your eyes can look like a cat’s eyes, for example, when you come in for your Free Consultation for laser vision correction! See section below on costume/colored contact lenses.

Facepaint

Facepaint can be a great alternative to a mask, but it comes with its own set of precautions. Buy face paint that is hypoallergenic and do a spot test to make sure there is no allergic reaction anyway. Make sure to keep the paint out of the eyes and be careful during application especially with sharp, pointed brushes that can scratch the eye. If face paint or any other substances get into the eyes, immediately flush the eyes thoroughly with saline or water as chemical splashes can cause significant eye damage within minutes. This should be done before consulting your eye doctor. If irritation persists however, it should be looked at by an eye doctor. Dr. Chynn is well known in NYC for temporarily dying his dog, a Russian wolfhound or borzoi, Tolstoy, with different vegetable dyes for various holidays. For example, using a beet-based dye (beet is that red vegetable) to dye Tolstoy’s fur red for Brest Cancer Awareness Day, and for raising money for breast cancer research on that day with his Borzoi puppy (last year they raised $1,000 this way and donated it to charity!

Props

Try to avoid costumes with sharp or pointed props such as spears, swords or guns that shoot. Warn children at play to never point an object at a person’s head or eyes. 

That goes for spray cans of silly-string, as well. The chemicals in these products can be very dangerous to the eyes, risking chemical conjunctivitis and serious eye irritation. The pressure at which the string is sprayed can also cause eye damage including a corneal abrasion (a scratch to the surface of the eye) if sprayed into the eye at a close range. These popular Halloween products should be avoided or, if necessary, children should be seriously cautioned not to spray anyone near the neck or face. 

A word should be said about bottle rockets, as Dr. Chynn wrote an editorial published in the New York Times that bottle rockets are a significant cause of severe eye injuries and visual loss around the holidays, including July Fourth, New Year’s Eve, and Halloween. This was republished by American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), for which Dr. Chynn is a Scientific Advisor. So never point a bottle rocket at anyone, as what is supposed to be a joke can wind up accidentally blinding your friend!

Visibility

Speaking of sight, you want to make sure that you and your children are visible to motorists on the streets. Chose brightly colored costumes and carry a flashlight to increase visibility. Consider adding some reflective tape to the costume or props as well. Carry a flashlight, and consider adding some small decorative LED lights to your costume, which may be purchased on eBay for only a few dollars!

Decorative Contact Lenses

Decorative contact lenses can look great, but they can cause serious damage. That’s why even non-corrective contact lenses are considered a medical device, which must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration or Health Canada, and require a prescription from an eye doctor. 

Never buy fashion, decorative, cosmetic, colored or theater contact lenses (or any other name that they go by) from a beauty or costume supply store or any unauthorized vendor. You should purchase them only with a prescription from an eye doctor after an eye exam to measure your eye and assess your eye health. 

Both optometrists (ODs) and ophthalmologists (MDs) can prescribe contact lenses, but only MDs can perform surgery like LASIK, LASEK, epiLASEK, epiLASIK, and PRK.

Contacts obtained through an unauthorized source may not be safe to wear. They might cause a corneal abrasion, allergic reactions, infections and decreased vision which can even lead to blindness.  

Plus, your optician or eye doctor will give you instructions for proper use and hygiene such as washing your hands, storing and cleaning the lenses properly and removing them as prescribed.  

If you are wearing any type of contact lenses and you notice redness, pain or blurred vision, take them out immediately. If symptoms persist, see your eye doctor as soon as possible. 

Stay Safe

Don’t make Halloween into a truly scary holiday. Take heed of these potential dangers and take the necessary precautions to stay safe. Happy Halloween!

For more information, or if you have further questions, visit www.ParkAvenueLASEK.com, or call and speak to any one of our helpful and friendly MD PhDs at (212) 741-8628!

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