Keep your eyes safe this Halloween!

Halloween is an exciting holiday for children and adults alike. Fun costumes, scary movies, deliciously spooky snacks… what’s not to love?

This Halloween, Intermountain Eye Centers encourages our community to practice safe and healthy habits. Below, check out some of these eye safety tips for Halloween as recommended by the American Optometric Association!

Bring a flashlight

If you’re trick-or-treating at night, don’t forget your flashlight! Dark pathways and uneven sidewalks don’t mix. Flashlights will also make children more visible to drivers.

Don’t wear loose-fitting costumes

Costumes that drag on the ground may cause you (or the people surrounding you!) to trip. Make sure that scarves, ties, cloaks, and other draping materials are secured and far from the ground.

Be careful with masks

Masks, eye patches, and hats should be worn with great care, since they can block vision. You should also make sure there aren’t any sharp points on these accessories.

Avoid sharp or pointed props

Swords, wands, and other pointed props can cause serious damage to you or your child’s eyes. Your child doesn’t need a wand to look like Harry Potter!

Watch out for decorative contact lenses

You might be able to buy decorative contact lenses online, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe! Decorative contact lenses, like regular contact lenses, need to be fitted by a professional to reduce the risk of an infection. Wearing colored contact lenses without a prescription can result in serious injury.

Take care with makeup

When purchasing makeup for Halloween, make sure that it’s hypoallergenic to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. In addition, keep makeup away from the eyes, and bring wet wipes to clean you or your child’s face if it begins to run or melt into the eyes.

Nix the scooter

Scooters, skateboards, bikes, or rollerblades should never be used while in costume. Loose clothing can catch in the gears, and masks can make it difficult to see where you’re going.  

For a full list of eye safety tips for Halloween, check out the American Optometric Association’s webpage!

We hope you have a safe and spooky Halloween! For information about our services — or to set up a comprehensive eye exam — contact us today.

Are Laser Pointers Dangerous?

August marks Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, an awareness month that encourages people to pay special attention to childhood eye illness and injury.

This year, Intermountain Eye Centers will discuss the dangers associated using a laser pointer as a toy. While laser pointers may seem harmless enough, you should think twice before letting your child use one as a makeshift lightsaber.

Can laser pointers blind you?

They sure can. This past June, doctors reported that a 9-year-old boy in Greece permanently injured his left eye after repeatedly gazing into a green laser pointer. Upon examination, doctors found that the laser burned a hole in his macula, part of the retina responsible for central, high-resolution color vision. He is unlikely to recover his full vision.

How to tell if a laser pointer is dangerous

Fortunately, not all laser pointers are dangerous. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to tell which ones are safe. Although regulations set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration require most laser products to be labeled with an appropriate warning, sometimes this information is missing or insufficient.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, lasers with an output greater than five milliwatts can result in severe retinal or skin damage within moments.

To determine if your laser pointer is safe, the FDA suggests the following guidelines:

  • Check the batteries. Button batteries mean that the laser pointer’s output is probably less than five milliwatts. AA, AAA, and lithium batteries mean that the laser pointer’s output is probably five milliwatts or greater.
  • Laser pointers sold with battery chargers often have an output that is greater than five milliwatts.
  • If your laser has a removable cap that spreads the beam into a pattern, the laser’s output may exceed five milliwatts if that cap is removed.
  • Watch out for the following keywords when viewing marketing materials: powerful, bright, ultra, super, military grade, strong, balloon pop, burn, burning, adjustable focus, lithium battery, and lithium powered.

Eye injuries associated with lasers don’t usually hurt. Because of this, it’s better to be safe than sorry and keep all laser pointers away from your eyes.

How do you safely use a laser pointer?

The FDA has the following recommendations:

  • Do not aim or shine a laser directly at a human or animal.
  • Never aim a laser at a vehicle or aircraft. People can be killed or seriously injured because of this.
  • Do not let children play with laser pointers.
  • Only purchase a toy laser if it’s labeled as a “Class 1 Laser Product.” This means that the laser is low risk and safe for children.
  • Do not purchase a laser with an output that exceeds five milliwatts.
  • Immediately contact a doctor if you suspect an eye injury has occurred.

Do you have any other questions about how to keep your children’s eyes safe? Contact Intermountain Eye Centers today and we’ll be happy to help.