Potential dangers from firecrackers during Deepavali

Ophthalmologists caution public against eye injuries

Eyes are the second most commonly injured organs of the body (after hands and fingers) by firecrackers. Depending on the type of eye injury, it can cause mild irritation to irreversible damage or permanent blindness.

Ophthalmologists in the city have called for precautionary measures, particularly for children, as each year a majority of the firecracker accident victims are children, followed by passers-by and bystanders. Lack of adult supervision and inadequate awareness of the risks involved while bursting crackers are the main reasons for accidents.

People should be aware of first aid to be given in case of an eye injury, said Kala Devi R, senior ophthalmologist at Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital.

Firecrackers could damage eye lids, eyes and the thin bones behind the eyes or cause bruises around the eyes, she said. According to Dr. Kala, two types of eye injury occur – open globe injuries that are penetrating and perforating and closed globe injuries that damage the eye without rupturing the eye walls.

The chemicals in the gun powder could cause thermal burns and fumes from firecrackers could cause watering and irritability. The intensity with which any part of a firecracker hurt the eye determined the damage caused, she added.

In case of any type of eye injury, said Dr. Kala, it was important to remember not to rub the eyeballs as it might increase bleeding or worsen the injury. People should also avoid rinsing or applying any kind of pressure to the eyes or removing any particle stuck in the eyes.

The best option would be to irrigate the eyes or flush them continuously with clean water. Do not use eye drops or ointments as they made it difficult for the doctors to examine the eyes in an emergency, she added.

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