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    Scary Halloween Eye Health Risks

    BC Doctors of Optometry caution parents to consider potential risks to children during Halloween. It’s not uncommon for this enjoyable holiday to take some not-so-fun turns, and there are things people can do to help protect kids – and their vision.

    One of the main concerns Doctors of Optometry have is the potential danger associated with the use of decorative or cosmetic contact lenses. “Many people don’t realize contact lenses are medical devices,” says Dr. Surjinder Sahota, president of the BC Association of Optometrists. “And just like prescription contacts, decorative contact lens users should have their eye health examined by a Doctor of Optometry to ensure their eyes are in good health and to have the lenses properly fitted before using them.”

    Many retailers, night markets, beauty salons, and online vendors dispense decorative lenses. Without custom fittings or directions for safe and proper care from an eye health professional, these consumers are at risk for serious eye health complications like corneal scratches, allergic reactions, conjunctivitis and other bacterial infections. Most of these complications are due to improper use and poor fit, and can lead to permanent damage to the eyes, including vision loss.

    Another concern Doctors of Optometry warn parents about is pedestrian traffic injuries. “We want kids to be safe this Halloween, and that includes being visible to motorists,” says Dr. Sahota. “BC Doctors of Optometry encourage parents to pick up free “Be Seen. Be Safe.” reflective stickers for their children’s Halloween costumes.”

    The reflective stickers are available to parents across the province at a BC Doctor of Optometry’s office, whose locations are listed at www.bcdoctorsofoptometry.com.The reflective stickers are also provided to RCMP detachments.

    About 10 per cent of all pedestrian traffic injuries involve children six to 15 years old and occur between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Traditional Halloween activities such as trick-or-treating can be risky because there are more children on the street than usual, and they tend to be excited and pay less attention to traffic safety.

    Here are some Halloween safety tips from BC Doctors of Optometry:

    • Avoid decorative or cosmetic contact lenses, which may obscure vision and increase the risk of complications like eye infections. If your child is very adamant on wearing them, make sure to take them to a Doctor of Optometry for a proper eye health assessment and fitting.
    • Have a responsible adult accompany trick-or-treaters.
    • Use iron-on reflective fabric or tape – or pick up a “Be seen. Be safe.” reflective sticker for children’s costumes and/or coats.
    • Don’t wear a mask, use hypo-allergenic make-up instead – children need to see where they’re going.
    • Carry a flashlight.
    • Don’t crisscross the street while trick-or-treating – go down one side of the street to the end, then back on the other side.
    • Avoid costumes that restrict movement of the head, so children can still easily look both ways before crossing the street.
    • Ensure that the path to your door is well-lit for trick-or-treaters.
    • To avoid an eye injury or vision loss, stay clear of firecrackers and sparklers and keep young children away from them.

    Remember to “Be seen. Be safe.” and have a Happy Halloween!

    BC Doctors of Optometry are your primary vision and eye health care providers. They provide a full range of services, including comprehensive eye exams, vision correction, disease detection and treatment, and eyewear. To book an exam, visit www.bcdoctorsofoptometry.comor join our Facebook community to post your eye-related questions at www.facebook.com/AskaDoctorofOptometry.

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    For photos or information, contact:
    Jeannine Bartz, 604-623-3007 or jeannine.bartz@edelman.com