Don’t lose sight of safety, say doctors ahead of Deepavali

Ophthalmologists say unsafe handling of crackers can lead to blindness

Come Deepavali, people need to take precautions to protect their eyes from injuries caused by crackers.

Ophthalmologists, while cautioning that serious injuries due to unsafe handling of crackers could lead to loss of vision, stress on the fact that simple safety measures can prevent damage to the eyes.

Last year, Sankara Nethralaya received 48 patients with eye injuries caused by crackers in a span of seven days — before, on and after Deepavali. Rajiv Raman, senior consultant, Vitreoretinal Services, Sankara Nethralaya, said, “This accounted for 14% of patients who arrived at emergency services. Injuries caused by fireworks vary. It could be superficial burns to injuries leading to total blindness and infections. Simple safety measures and lighting crackers under proper supervision could prevent such injuries.”

Multi-centric study

Citing a multi-centric data collection exercise by Pradeep Susvar, senior consultant - retinal services, Sankara Nethralaya, Dr. Raman said data of 215 persons, who were reported with such injuries at ophthalmic institutions across the country including Sankara Nethralaya and those in Madurai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Amritsar and Mumbai, were collected last Deepavali.

“According to this, the mean age of patients was 21 years. Eighty percent of them were men and 64% were from urban areas. In fact, 97% of them had no eye protection while bursting firecrackers and 62% of children were unsupervised. Four percent of them lost vision due to severe injury,” he added.

Srinivasan G. Rao, regional head-clinical services, Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, in a press release, pointed out that the severity of ocular injury could range from mild irritation and corneal abrasions to retinal complications and open globe injury leading to potential blindness. Besides individuals who handle crackers, more than 50% of bystanders are at high risk of sustaining eye injuries.

Contact lenses may cause irritation if exposed to direct heat for a long time. So, persons with contact lenses should be doubly careful around fireworks, he added.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 9:29:50 AM |

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