Hyderabad: The festival of Diwali is associated with two of its most essential features one is the diya and second is fireworks. Age is certainly not a factor for bursting crackers and everyone loves fireworks. But with accidents related to fireworks increasing each year, it is important to take care while handling them.
Most eye injuries occur during this season as the eyes bear the brunt as they are sensitive. A large number of ocular injuries are reported every year, mainly caused due to firecrackers. In fact, the eyes are the second most common affected area after the hands and fingers. Some common injuries are caused by sparklers, bombs and ‘chakra’.
Speaking to siasat.com, Dr Gaurav Arora of Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital tells us how to protect eyes and have a safe festival.
Along with individuals who handle crackers, more than 50 per cent bystanders are at a risk of being exposed to firecrackers ignited in the streets.
Mode of Injury
The severity of ocular injury can range from mild irritation and corneal abrasions to retinal complications and open globe injury leading to potential blindness. Chemical injuries are due to chemicals in the gunpowder mixed in the crackers.
The constant smoke can cause irritability and watering of eyes. Fumes emanating from firecrackers may also cause laryngitis and other throat infections. Sparklers are dangerous because they burn at a temperature hot enough to melt gold (1,800°F).
For reference, that temperature is nearly 1,000 degrees hotter than the boiling point of water and is hot enough to melt glass and cause third-degree burns to the skin. Necessary precautions need to be taken to avoid such injuries.
Most fireworks contain gunpowder, which cause these devices to explode. As such explosions are unpredictable, injuries can occur even if the person is careful. Pollution levels are also at their highest during Diwali, with nitroxide and Sulphur dioxide levels rising considerably.
Also, noise pollution levels cross the permitted levels. Flowerpots and crackers are packed with multiple small particles which travel at high speed and cause damage to the tissues.
Contact lenses may cause irritation to the eyes if exposed to direct heat for a long time. So people wearing contact lenses should be doubly cautious while bursting crackers. In a nutshell, the damage of the eye by a cracker depends on the velocity of the cracker or the intensity with which it hits the eye, chemical reaction in the eye and thermal burns.
EASY TIPS TO FOLLOW DURING DIWALI CELEBRATIONS
- Remember to maintain a safe distance from the firework even while watching it. This reduces the possibility of debris entering your eye.
- If you are the one lighting the firework it is always better to have some form of protection for your eyes, usually in the form of goggles n
- If an accident occurs, make sure to rush to the nearest hospital and do not try to remedy the injury at home
- Professional eye care is always the best measure to take while in this situation n Never rub your eyes after the injury as you risk further worsening or spreading the injury
- Store fireworks in a closed box in a safe location, away from the reach of children n Keep fireworks away from the face, hair and clothing
- Maintain a distance of an arm’s length while lighting firecrackers
By Mohammed Hussain [email protected]