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Bobbing for apples is dangerous - top eye surgeon

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A leading surgeon says bobbing for apples should be avoided. Picture posed by models

A leading surgeon says bobbing for apples should be avoided. Picture posed by models

A leading surgeon says bobbing for apples should be avoided. Picture posed by models

IT’S all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

The tradition that dates back centuries, but children have been warned that they should be terrified — of Halloween apple bobbing.

A leading surgeon has warned that the game should be avoided because children risk damaging their eyes.

The game involves competitors dunking their heads in a bucket of water and trying to snatch out apples with their teeth.

But Dr Kathyrn McCreery, an eye surgeon at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, has cautioned against the game.

“While eye doctors are not asking people to avoid fun on this family occasion, a popular traditional Halloween game, commonly known as apple bobbing, is best avoided,” she said.

Dr McCreery explained: “Scratches on the surface of the eye and infections from dirty water and water communally used by a number of children can occur as a result of the child attempting to bite the apple at force when dunking their head.”

The surgeon has also cautioned that the end of October can be the most dangerous time for the eyes.

She said that the most common accidents include corneal abrasions and bleeding in the eye, caused by children being struck in the eye with sharp Halloween accessories such as swords, knives or wands.

Dr McCreery also said that eye injuries also often result from poor supervision of fireworks and around bonfires and advised extreme caution.

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“Parents need to make sure accessories such as swords and other objects are soft and flexible, and have dulled edges,” she advised.

“Most eye injuries can be treated but it is essential that parents act quickly if they have any concerns.

“If your child has injured their eye, signs and symptoms can include pain, tearing, swelling or a bloody discharge and medical attention should be sought,” Dr McCreery concluded.

Meanwhile, more than 20,000 visitors came in costume, were scared out of their wits and walked the ghoulish streets of Dublin at this year's second annual Bram Stoker Festival.

The festival was spread across Dublin's city centre, sponsored by the council and Failte Ireland.

“This year's festival is one for the books.

“We could not have asked for a more successful event,” Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn said.

The event, which celebrated the legendary Irish author of Dracula, took place over the Bank Holiday weekend.


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