Don't Let Halloween Fun Injure Your Eyes

Ophthalmologists say know the dangers: masks can obscure vision, and unregulated fashion contact lenses without a prescription can cause permanent vision loss

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It's almost time to don your outfit for the 31st, but keep in mind some important safety tips, say doctors at Philadelphia's Wills Eye Hospital, that may keep you from doing real harm to your eyes -potentially landing yourself in the emergency room and in some cases, risking permanent vision loss.

Each year, Wills Eye doctors see an increase in eye problems around this time of the year. Consumers purchase potentially harmful, unregulated colored contact lenses from the internet or in stores to change eye color or make the colored part of the eye appear bigger. Wills Eye ophthalmologists caution against doing that to avoid developing potentially blinding corneal ulcers, abrasions, or having the contact lenses slip due to poor fit inside the eye –so much so --they can actually be irretrievable in some cases. Other dangers include buying costumes and masks which obscure vision preventing trick-or-treaters from seeing where they're going.

"You can do real damage to your eyes if you don't get a prescription from a licensed eye care professional for an FDA approved lens. Unfortunately, around this time of year, we see patients who look for ways to glamourize their eyes for Halloween or for holiday parties, but some cosmetic contacts lenses are not safe. Everyone needs to be extra careful about what they stick in their eyes. Not all lenses are equal," said Christopher J. Rapuano, MD, Chief, Wills Eye Cornea Service.

Wills Eye physicians are available for interviews.

Safety Tips:
•    Only buy decorative contact lenses from an eye care professional such as an ophthalmologist or retailer that sells FDA approved products.
•    If you don't already have a valid contact lens prescription, obtain a valid new prescription.
•    Even for those with perfect vision, an eye exam and prescription are mandatory in order to fit the right size contacts. Do not believe "one size fits all" or "no need to see an eye specialist."
•    Never share contact lenses with another person or wear expired lenses.
•    Daily disposables are the safest ones to use
•    Don't share eye make-up or draw a line inside the rim of the eye. This can often clog the tear ducts and create painful, even dangerous infections.
•    If you notice redness, swelling, excessive discharge, pain or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses immediately and seek medical attention right away. Eye infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi or parasites and keratitis can quickly become serious and cause blindness if left untreated.
•    If your child chooses to wear a mask, safest method is wearing it on the top of their head instead of covering their eyes which can put them in danger for not seeing out on the streets.


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