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Eyecare pros embrace the spooky season


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Eyecare professionals will be the first to admit a strange love for all things eye-related. So it’s no stretch that Halloween would be a favorite holiday for many optometrists and their staffs-a time when they can embrace their inner eye nerd and geek out on all things eyeball-related.

I polled members of ODs on Facebook to see who embraces the Halloween season with the most spirit. From dressing up during the work day to making eyeball desserts and seeing patients with frightening mishaps, some ODs have embraced the Halloween season.

Best staff Halloween costumes
You don’t have to be a kid to dress up for Halloween. Many ODs and their staffs have been known to don creative costumes from year to year.

Here are a few of the top costumes from years past:

Kimberly Boyer, OD, in Newport, PA, encourages staff and patient participation on Halloween. Her optician once dressed up as Doc McStuffins and was surprised to find a patient wearing the same costume. (Figure 1)

Keeping in the theme of Disney, Sarah Bell, OD, and her team in York, PA, love dressing in a theme to lighten the mood of patient care on Halloween. They dressed as Disney characters one year. (Figure 2)

Related: Don’t let bad beauty habits suck the fun out of Halloween

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Alice in Wonderland was a hit with patients for Mandy Johnson, OD, in Kearney, NE. (Figure 3)

Keeping current in the digital world, Sophia Awadia, OD, and her staff in Toronto, ON, Canada, embraced the emojii looks for Halloween, complete with the eye nerd emojii. (Figure 4)

Megan McPhail, OD, in Holyoke, MA, was the bride of Frankenstein. (Figure 5)

Sharlene Gaughan, OD, loved when her friend’s son wanted to be a bloody eyeball for Halloween. The costume even included a severed optic nerve. (Figure 6)

Best eyeball foods

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Sherelle Morrison, OD, in Charlotte, NC, is an optometrist by day and a baker in her free time. This year she created a glass in the eye-themed cupcake using her favorite chocolate chip cupcake recipe and edible glass to complete her gory sight. (Figure 7)

Kevin Kwok, OD, in Lakewood, CA, was able to make light of the introduction of ICD-10 with his ICD-10-themed cake pops. (Figure 8)

Traditional eyeball cake pops, like the ones created by Christine Giblin Creed, OD, FAAO, in Arlington, VA-as well as locations in Lynn Haven, FL, and Dixon, CA-are always good to have on hand. Every year she is asked to bring the eyeballs to Halloween parties. (Figure 9)

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Doesn’t everyone need a little eye humor?
Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry student Stephane Fitoussi created a costume that can be appreciated by an OD. Not every patient is skilled with answering the often-dreaded “Which is better, one or better two?” leading to refractions that take a little too long, so don’t fall victim to the Death by Refraction costume. (Figure 10)

Embrace your inner eye nerd and have fun while taking care of patients.
Glowing eyes are something seen clinically every day with vital dye testing. Steven Blake, OD, in Payson, UT, has turned the stain around and entertained himself and staff with his own glowing eyes. 
(Figure 11)

Related: Scary good tips to celebrate Halloween at the office

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The real frights of the night
Cases of central retinal vein occlusions (CRVO) are no laughing matter and come with grave visual consequences. It’s imperative that ODs check the iris and angle for clinical signs of neovascularization for all patients with CRVO.

Nathan Pelsor, OD, FAAO, in Evansville, IN, shared a case of a 76-year-old Caucasian woman with chronic CRVO and neovascular glaucoma from her florid iris neovascularization (Figure 12). Her intraocular pressure (IOP) was remarkably well-controlled with topical therapy. 

Jason Kaminski, OD, in Longmont, CO, was surprised to find a ghoul staring back at him during ocular coherence tomography (OCT) evaluation for a patient with vitreomacular traction. (Figure 13)

Decorative contact lenses can pose a true threat to consumers. The American Optometric Association (AOA) continues to issue warnings about the use of illegally obtained, decorative lenses with the threat for permanent vision loss. 

However, ODs can elect to fit these contact lenses for patients. ABB Optical’s Gothika provides a wide range of decorative lenses ranging in corrective power from plano to -6.00 D and even options that glow in the dark.

Costume makeup, false eyelashes, glitter, and makeup removal products can provide scary ocular reactions. Be on the lookout for red eyes after the Halloween season from the over exposure of chemicals not ocular surface friendly.

Top haunting ingredients include: parabens, alcohols, formaldehyde derivatives, benzalkonium chloride (BAK), and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). Also, it is not recommended that cosmetic products are shared from one ghoul to the next. 

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Don’t forget to accessorEYES
Add a bit of Halloween fun for your practice’s check-in and check-out counters with eyeball pens, designed by, receptionist for Allison Zaum, OD, in Mountain View, CA. (Figure 14)

Or try a fun candy jar labeled “Eye Want Candy.” (Figure 15)

In addition to having fun with eye-related costumes, décor, and food, these things can serve as great conversation starters with the public on the importance ocular health and eye care.

See more content by Leslie E. O'Dell, OD, FAAO. 

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