Be Careful With This Scary Halloween Costume Accessory

With Halloween approaching, many are getting into the spirit by looking for costumes that frighten. Whether choosing  a scary witch, chilling vampire or a creepy zombie costume, there is one spooky accessory that is considered dangerous and should not be used.

Decorative, or costume contact lenses are very popular this time of year because of their ability to change the color or overall appearance of your eyes. Many people use them to create a “frightening look”, but this attempt to terrify can come at a cost to your vision.

It is important to know that contact lenses are medical devices intended to correct your vision and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They should not be worn unless prescribed by an eye doctor. Retailers that advertise them as cosmetics or sell them over-the-counter, without a prescription are breaking the law.  The issue with these “fashion” lenses is that they are advertised as one size fits all, but this is not accurate. Before wearing contact lenses, your doctor should measure each eye to properly fit the lenses and evaluate how your eye responds to them. A poor fit can cause serious eye damage, including:

  • Scratches on the cornea (the clear dome of tissue over the iris—the part of the eye that gives you your eye color)
  • Sorneal infection (an ulcer or sore on the cornea)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Decreased vision
  • Blindness

According to an article published by the FDA, “The problem isn’t with the decorative contacts themselves. It’s the way people use them improperly—without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care.” Many of the issues arise due to a lack of care instructions on decorative contact lens packaging.

The FDA warns to never buy these types of contact lenses from street vendors, beauty supply stores, novelty or Halloween stores, or an internet site that does not require a prescription.

If you are determined to get decorative contact lenses to complete your scary look this Halloween, speak to your eye doctor and get a prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and an expiration date. Then go to a seller that requires you have a prescription. Failure to do so, and the biggest scare could be the damage you do to your eyesight.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Learn How to Stay Safe During Eye Injury Prevention Month

Nearly 2.5 million Americans suffer some form of eye injury every year and approximately 1 million of those injuries result in some degree of vision loss. While many employers have instituted safety measures to reduce the incidence of workplace-related accidents, there are no regulations in place to protect you from the place where nearly half of all eye injuries occur…your home.

Apprentice Engineer Using Milling Machine

October has been designated Eye Injury Prevention Month and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center would like to take this opportunity to educate the community on how to decrease the chances of sustaining an eye injury while working in, or around your house.

Eye injuries can vary from deep puncture wounds requiring surgical treatment to minor surface scratches. Some of the most common types of eye injuries occur:

In the House: When using household chemicals, read the instructions carefully and make sure to point spray nozzles away from your face. Many chemicals are extremely hazardous and can permanently destroy the surface of the eyes, resulting in blindness.

In the Workshop: While working with power tools there is a high likelihood of wood, metal or other material fragments, fumes or dust particles flying through the air and getting into your eyes. Many of these objects can cause injury.
In the Garden: When operating a lawnmower, power trimmer or edger, be sure to check for rocks and stones, because they can become dangerous projectiles as they shoot from these machines.

In the Garage: Battery acid sparks and debris from damaged or improperly jump-started auto batteries can severely damage the eyes.

Protecting your eyes from injury while working around the house is one of the most basic and easiest things you can do to keep your vision healthy throughout your life. The best way to protect yourself from an eye injury is by wearing protective eyewear during home-based activities. Wearing safety goggles or other forms of protective eyewear can prevent 90% of all eye injuries, yet only 35 percent of respondents said they wear protective eyewear when performing home repairs or maintenance.

Jamaica Hospital urges everyone to avoid an unnecessary trip to the Emergency Department by practicing proper eye safety around the house.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.