By Shilipa J. Register, OD, PhD
UAB Callahan Eye Hospital
As we begin to celebrate cooler, fall weather and the changing of the leaves in Alabama, our children and grandchildren are gearing up for a big night of trick-or-treating. I wanted to share some tips for keeping you and your family safe, not to mention the excited, young guests who will soon be visiting our streets and homes.
The Centers for Disease Control offers several safety recommendations to enhance kids’ safety as they trick-or-treat, including: (1) use reflective tape on costumes to increase visibility, (2) choose swords/knives/accessories that are short and flexible to reduce potential eye injuries and (3) bring a powerful flashlight to illuminate walkways. Additional safety recommendations can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/.
Costume makeup has become trendy in recent years, but remember to test it on a small spot first to confirm there is no allergic reaction. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends makeup rather than masks, which can block the child’s vision.
To help prevent injuries, you should also ensure that your property provides a safe environment for trick-or-treaters. Remove any potential tripping hazards from your yard such as toys, lawn equipment, trash, garden hoses, etc. If there are cords running across your lawn, secure them to the ground and add lighting in those areas. Make sure automatic sprinklers are turned off before dusk and use lighting to warn visitors away from any sprinkler heads that are raised above the lawn. Remember to turn on your porch light and supplement with additional lighting to illuminate your yard, walkways, steps, etc.
Adults and teenagers are also celebrating the season with costume parties and fall festivities. Remember that contact lenses are FDA-approved medical devices. While decorative contact lenses can add a unique touch to make your costume more authentic, they require an examination and prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. All too often, patients purchase decorative contact lenses at beauty shops and gas stations, which can result in eye injuries or even blindness. Additional consumer information from the FDA can be found at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm230283.htm.
At UAB Callahan Eye Hospital Clinic-UAB Medical West, we provide a full range of optometric and ophthalmologic care, and we will begin offering contact lens services in November. We hope you choose UAB Callahan Eye Hospital for you and your family’s eye health and vision needs, this fall and in the future.