BANGALORE: About one-fourth of eye injuries are said to result in blindness. Hence, it is important to take safety precautions, especially while lighting firecrackers, advise city doctors.
As new kinds of firecrackers are introduced into the market each year, people may not be aware of their intensity. Consequently, firecracker-related injuries are increasing, say doctors. Dr B L Sujatha Rathod, professor of Ophthalmology at Minto Eye Hospital, says, “We had 61 cases last year. Of these, 21 were serious, three lost their sight while eleven had moderate injuries. Forty people were treated as outpatients.”
She says there have been various campaigns and awareness programmes, but the message encouraging the bursting of crackers under parental supervision has not yielded the desired result.
Dr Rajesh Ramanjulu, consultant in vitreoretinal and ocular oncology services, Sankara Eye Hospital, points out that about one-fourth of eye injuries result in blindness.
Dr Arun Samprathi of Samprathi Eye Hospital and Squint Centre says, “Despite educating people about the need to keep safe while lighting firecrackers, every year, the number of incidents of injuries relating to firecrackers rises. It is important that firecrackers, especially new ones, be handled with care. A momentary lapse in attention could result in permanent loss of vision.”
Samprathi adds that eye injuries, which may handicap people for life, are in fact largely avoidable. “About 40-50 per cent of victims of firecracker accidents are bystanders,” he says.
How to Deal with Minor injuries
■ In case of an eye injury, do not allow the child to rub or touch it as this may cause more damage
■ Do not flush the eye with water or apply ointment
■ Keep a sterile solution handy for cleaning eyes
■ Open the eye of the injured and carefully look for any embedded object. If you see one and if it is moving freely, have a sterile eye wash and gently dampen the eye to remove it
■ Use an eyecare product to soothe the irritation
■ In case of a black eye, bruise or bleeding, apply an ice pack on the affected area, but not directly