Take precautions to have a safe festival, say doctors
Thirty-five-year-old Muralidharan, whose left eye was injured after he was hit by a firecracker particle last Deepavali, has now developed secondary glaucoma. Even after a year’s treatment, he has still not recovered completely.
Doctors at Sankara Eye Hosptial, where he is undergoing treatment, said the impact of the foreign body had ruptured the blood vessel in the anterior segment of his eye.
Similarly, 36-year-old Ramchandran’s left eye was ruptured while he was watching his son burst a bomb. Doctors had to remove his left eye after he lost vision.
These are just two of last year’s several cracker injury cases that have left a lasting impact on people. Despite awareness drives and cracker-free campaigns, cracker injuries are on the rise year after year. Most of the victims are onlookers, doctors said.
Ophthalmologists, who advised that people should avoid bursting heavy and loud crackers, said firework-related injuries range from burned fingers and lacerations to serious disability and permanent loss of vision.
While small crackers cause common injuries such as mild burns on the skin, eyelashes or eyelids, heavy crackers such as rockets and atom bombs can cause serious damage to the cornea (front portion of the eye), bleeding inside the eye, tear and detachment of the retina and injury to the optic nerve leading to permanent loss of vision, doctors said.
K. Bhujang Shetty of Narayana Nethralaya said people should take precautions while buying, storing and lighting crackers. With small children around, it is better not to buy crackers like bombs and rockets which have a tendency to burst or move in haphazard directions. While storing crackers, it is necessary to keep them away from any source of fire or sparks, he said.
“People tend to put them in the puja room or kitchen. But this is dangerous since there are possibilities of the crackers catching fire and causing damage. They have to be stored properly,” he said.
Murali Kaushik of Sankara Eye Hospital said with the concept of cracker-free festival not working, it was better to have a safe-cracker campaign. “It has been a bad start this year and our hospital has already received two cases of cracker injuries on Thursday,” he said.
Paediatric Ophthalmologist Arun Samprathi said children should never be left unattended while bursting crackers. “Lack of parental supervision and the practice of bursting crackers on roads without care are the main reasons for cracker injuries,” he added.