A local doctor is encouraging parents and kids to be sight-smart for Halloween.
Red Deer-based Dr. Jason Holtom, a therapeutic optometrist and owner of The Eye Studio said Halloween can be a time of sight-related hazards. And that’s all the more the case with a busier society these days – more kids, cars and other modes of transportation on the roads.
With darkness settling in early by the time Halloween rolls around, it’s that much harder to see youngsters on the road.
But there are ways to make it a safer experience.
“Decorating the face with makeup approved for the skin is almost always preferable to masks,” he said, adding that masks can often not fit properly, impacting lines of vision. It’s a challenge for parents when kids want to wear a costume that pretty much demands a mask as well.
“The eyeholes on the mask can be too small to allow full vision or the mask can shift during wear and obstruct sight.”
As to the use of make-up, Holtom added that it is important that it be approved for use on the skin and that care should be taken to keep the makeup away from the eyes when putting it on and taking it off.
Decorative contact lenses that make the eyes look like cat eyes or with wild designs are generally safe, he said. But there again, there are guidelines to keep in mind.
“Remember that any contact lens is a medical device and must be prescribed by and worn under the supervision of an eye doctor.”
He also warns against buying contact lenses from unauthorized outlets. “A contact lens that is not fitted or worn improperly can cause serious eye problems like corneal ulcers, corneal abrasion or conjunctivitis.”
As for bolstering the chances of kids being easily spotted as they criss-cross neighbourhood streets Halloween night, Holtom recommends they wear reflective clothing or place reflective tape on candy bags and clothing.
Reflective stickers can go a long way in helping make sure trick-or-treaters are more readily seen.
They should also carry flashlights as glow sticks sold for Halloween are filled with chemical that can cause eye irritation, he said. Kids sometimes break the glow sticks, causing the liquid inside to spill out and be a potential danger as well.
Headscarves and hats should also be tied securely to make sure they don’t slip down over the eyes and obscure vision, he said.
As Holtom says, it’s not so hard with younger children who are accompanied by parents. But pre-teens and teens who of course head out on their own need to step up in making themselves more visible.
Holtom said those with more questions on tips for a safe Halloween vision-wise can call him at 403-352-8846.