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Beware of Halloween Costume Accessories

There will be plenty of ghosts and goblins out this Halloween, but a new costume accessorycould do more than scare your child.

Creatively colored lenses, also called decorative or costume lenses, may seem like a fun way to enhance a Halloween ensemble. Glow-in-the-dark lizard eyes, cat eyes, and more are available over-the-counter and on the Internet. But before you and your family buy them, know that these lenses can cause serious eye problems.

Lenses May Damage Eyes
In the U.S. it is illegal to sell any type of contacts without a prescription. Why? Contact lenses are medical devices. They are not cosmetic accessories. When you go to an eye doctor, he or she spends time fitting the contact lens to your eye.

Improperly fitted lenses—like supposed “one size fits all” decorative lenses—can scratch the surface of the eye. They can also cause infections that may lead to vision loss. If you want to wear decorative contacts this season, make sure to see an eye doctor for an exam and a prescription. Only buy FDA-approved contact lenses.
Be Sure Costumes Are Easy to See
Follow these other tips to ensure your children’s costumes offer harmless fun:
• Check that your children can walk without tripping on their costumes.
• Make sure kids can see clearly out of masks or head coverings.
• Avoid oversized shoes and high heels that could cause kids to trip or fall.
• Check for flame-resistant materials when you buy costumes.
• Make or buy costumes that are light and bright.
• Add reflective materials to costumes to increase visibility.
• Test makeup a few days before the big night to make sure children won’t develop a rash, swelling, or other allergic reaction

Sources

“Colored Contact Lens Dangers.” American Academy of Opthalmology. www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/eye-health-news/scary-lenses.cfm.
“Costume Contact Lenses.” American Academy of Opthalmology, October 21, 2013. www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/glasses-contacts-lasik/colored-lenses.cfm.
“CPSC Provides Safety Tips for a Safe Trick or Treat.” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09029.html.
“Decorative Contact Lenses: Is Your Vision Worth It?” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, April 22, 2014. www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/homehealthandconsumer/consumerproducts/contactlenses/ucm270953.htm.

“Halloween Health and Safety Tips.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/family/halloween.