By Dr. Satya Prasad Balki, M.S F.C.A.S (AEH), Consultant ophthalmologist
MaxiVision eye hospitals
With our country achieving the fabulous milestone of a billion Covid shots administered, waning Covid case numbers, a bull run in the stock markets, tourism picking up again, a general sense of euphoria and relief, one can only say that the festive season is truly upon us, and we can expect it to be a -‘Dhamaka’ Diwali!
Diwali is probably the biggest festival in our country and with the stress and toll that Covid put us through last year, I am sure people want to spare no excuse in indulgence this time around. Diwali is one of the busiest and stressful times for an eye doctor and for good reason, a kitchen running overtime, lamps, lightings, and fireworks-well there’s a recipe for disaster if there ever was! While I am all in for the celebrations, I also would like my readers to exercise caution.
Hazardous injuries to any part of our body are quite common and can range from mild to severe burns, as an eye doctor I would like to draw your attention to the eye injuries that can occur and safety precautions to be followed.
Our body has an instinctive mechanism to close the eyes shut when it expects an injury but sometimes it's not adequate. If we look at the structure of the eye, the outermost part Called the cornea is transparent and allows light to enter the eye and give vision, it is similar to watch glass and any kind of trauma to it usually leaves a permanent scar which results in diminished vision. The eye is a round structure with an inherent pressure within it which keeps it in this shape, any penetrating trauma seen in callous and close proximity to fireworks causes rupture of these tissues and is often difficult to treat.
Hot oil from the lamps or while cooking can fall in the eyes and cause scalding of the superficial layers of the eye, electrical burn injuries from faulty wiring and lights can cause thermal burn injuries. Of all fireworks can cause the most damage, as they are akin to the effects of a blast injury albeit on a smaller scale, Injuries to the eye vary from small foreign body to severe penetrating injury requiring immediate surgical intervention.
Here’s the first aid guide you can follow-
In mild cases as in hot oil or foreign body, Wash the eye thoroughly by splashing copious amounts of clean drinking water, alternately you can use a shallow cup of water close to the eye and blink repeatedly.
Consult your eye doctor to remove the foreign body and prescribe appropriate medications.
In severe bleeding cases with direct impact to eyes with fireworks, wash eye with clean water, cover the eye with a clean cotton pad or towel, do not apply any pressure, and consult an eye doctor immediately as it may require surgical intervention.
Precautions to be taken-
· Use protective eyewear, maintain a safe distance, and keep utensils above waist level while cooking.
· While lighting fireworks, maintain a safe distance after lighting, use a face shield, easily available nowadays thanks to Covid.
· DO NOT handle live fireworks or fling them in the air.
· Adult supervision is a must for Children around fireworks.
· Always keep a bucket of water close by.
· Motorists should be careful and wear a helmet as many people light fireworks on the road.
· Do not try to self-medicating and use readily available drops at home, give appropriate first aid and consult your eye doctor.
Conforming to the old adage ‘’prevention is better than cure’’ it is best to be cautious and avoid such scenarios altogether. Health, wealth, and happiness, wishing it all in abundance!!
Wish you a safe and happy Diwali!