Fireworks are used worldwide to express festivity and cheer especially in India during Diwali.But if the fireworks are not handled under supervision or guidance it could lead to injury to skin and eyes. These eye injuries can cause serious and irreparable damage to vision. Every year during Diwali, hospitals notice several fold increases in firework injuries. Lack of awareness on safety for lighting crackers and not using protective eye gear are responsible for the majority of these injuries. Most susceptible to injuries during Diwali are members of the pediatric age group who are not under the supervision of responsible adults.
“Firework injuries are responsible for a large number of ocular injuries. Generally, patients complain of a foreign body sensation, ocular pain, reduced vision, redness, tearing and photosensitivity or photophobia. The most common injuries include hyphema, eyelid injuries, traumatic iridodialysis, retinal detachment and corneal abrasion,” said Dr Venkatesh Babu, Consultant, Ophthalmologist, Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital Bengaluru
Fireworks can also cause lid and ocular surface chemical and thermal burns. This in turn can lead to corneal opacity and blindness. Sometimes it causes globe perforation and intra ocular foreign bodies in the eye due to projectile injuries. This can lead to irreversible loss of vision, added Dr Venkatesh Babu.
Therefore, this Diwali, it is imperative that one uses protective eye gear while bursting crackers and while children should actually not be allowed to burst crackers at all, if they have to, they must do so under strict parental supervision.
“Ideally fireworks should be set off outdoors in a clear area, away from houses, dry leaves or grass or other flammable materials. One should always keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring over fireworks that fail to ignite or explode. Never light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container and never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Just soak them in water and dispose safely. Even spectators can be at risk so it is advised that safety instructions be followed and fireworks be viewed from at least 500 feet away,” said Dr Venkatesh Babu.
Further, projectile fireworks, like rockets and bombs, which are responsible for the majority of injuries, should be strictly avoided. Even the seemingly harmless sparkler fireworks can be dangerous, as they burn at more 1093 degrees celsius, therefore sparkler mishaps have also been known to create serious eye injuries and even death.
The DO’s and DON’ Ts in case of eye injuries caused due to firecrackers:
- Don’t use any eye drops without doctor’s advice.
- Don’t rub your eyes
- Don’t rinse your eyes
- Don’t apply pressure
- Don’t remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.