(Authored by Dr LVK Raju MBBS, MS, Fellow-Phaco Sr.Cataract, Lasik &ICL Surgeon, MaxiVision Super Specialty eye hospitals , Hyderabad)
Diwali l one of the important festivals of India and marks the victory of good over evil or light over darkness. Though the celebration and the festive mood fill-up with joy in everyone, yet the chances of mishap may ruin the festive spirit.
Eye injuries by fire crackers are common during ‘Diwali’ in India. Unawareness about safety measures or not following the safety tips are the reasons for unwanted eventualities.
Most injuries were associated with misuse or malfunction of fireworks.
• lighting fireworks in one’s hand;
• being too close to lit fireworks
• setting off fireworks improperly;
• mischief; igniting fireworks too close to someone; and
• dismantling fireworks
Neglected adult supervision associated with adornment to synthetic clothing adds to the problem. Those injured by fireworks are not necessarily handling the explosives themselves.Infact; nearly half of people injured by fireworks are bystanders.
Though fireworks-related eye injuries have been decreasing over the years, there is still there is a need to increase awareness about the dangers of fireworks. These injuries constitute an important cause of preventable blindness.
Eye injuries by fireworks are caused in three ways.
One is by heat or fire ,a second is by the force with which a foreign object hits the eye and the last is due to the chemical nature of the cracker. In most cases the injury is caused by a combination of these three factors and the damage can be immense,including loss of eyesight.
Prevention is always better than cure. Adult supervision, guidance to children while lighting the crackers and preparedness like wearing protective goggles, wearing snugly fitting gloves and well covering cotton clothes, keeping a bucket of water nearby goes a long way in preventing and handling these unfortunate accidents of eye injuries and skin burns with firecrackers.
Safety glasses are recommended for individuals lighting fireworks and those individuals in close proximity to the fireworks.
The natural impulse during an eye injury is to rub the eye. Don’t! That can be the worst thing to do. Rubbing ahard, sharp particle against the delicate tissues that line the inside of the eye can cause more damage. Too often this wild rives a foreign body deeper into the tissues and makes removal difficult.
When an eye injury does occur, have an ophthalmologist or other medical doctor examine the eye as soon as possible, even if the injury seems minor at first.
A serious eye injury is not always immediately obvious. Delaying medical attention can cause the damaged areas to worsen and could result in permanent vision loss or blindness.
Because eye injuries can cause serious vision loss, it’s important to be able to recognize an injury and appropriately respond to it.DONOT attempt to treat a serious eye injury yourself.However,first-aid treatment also is important.
For all eye injuries:
o DONOT touch,rub or apply pressure to the eye.
o DONOT try to remove the object stuck in the eye with a tooth pick, match, knife blade, magnet or any other instrument.
o DONOT apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirinoribuprofen.
o DONOT rinse with water(If your eye has been cut or punctured).
o Only in the event of chemical exposure, flush with plenty of water.
o See a doctor as soon as possible, preferably an ophthalmologist. Delaying medical attention can cause the damaged areas to worsen and could result in permanent vision loss or blindness.
Spread the safety tips amongst all the people around you, so that you can ensure a safe Diwali for all of them.