Shopping for halloween? Keep the eyes in mind

They give kids a doe-like, anime look. They cover not only the iris but the whites of the eyes in various bright shades with names like  “Barbie’s Big Size Circle Grey” and “Princess Pinky Honey Pink.”

Circle contact lenses meant to imitate Lady Gaga’s look in her “Bad Romance” music video are becoming popular among teens in the U.S.  They’re widely available online, usually shipping from Asia, and can be ordered in prescription strength or without correction and used purely for decoration.

But they’re illegal. In the United States, sites that sell contact lenses can only do so when the prescription  is verified by a doctor. They can also cause permanent damage to the eyes, says Ahwatukee optometrist Dr. Alex Smith, a VSP Vision Care provider.

Optometrists hope parents will make eye safety a priority when choosing Halloween costumes this year.

Below are more tips from Dr. Smith:

  • The glue from false lashes can irritate the skin and eyes. Follow the package instructions carefully, and avoid use with young children.
  • When using glitter, face paint and other cosmetics around the eyes, be sure to choose products that are hypoallergenic and approved for use on the skin. Read more about face paint safety here.
  • Avoid makeup applied very close to the eye; eyeliner can injure a squirmy child or someone who is not used to applying it. For removing makeup, cold cream or eye makeup remover can be gentler and easier than soap and water.
  • Sunglasses should be worn year round to protect the eyes from the sun’s damaging UVA / UVB rays. But wearing sunglasses at night can be dangerous.
  • Masks that impair head movements or peripheral vision should be avoided for the same reasons.
  • Use a flash light when trick-or-treating at night. Consider using reflective strips on  costumes to increase visibility.
  • Teach kids to use caution with sharp items—swords, light sabers, wands and other pointed toys can cause serious eye damage.
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