In India, Diwali is not just a festival, it is a season of lavish celebration of prosperity and happiness. The days leading up to Diwali are filled with the flavors of sweets and illuminated with the brightness of diyas and lanterns. Although Diwali is a time of fun and enjoyment, the improper handling of fireworks has accounted for thousands of ER visits each year. After hands and fingers, the eyes are the second-most common affected area for burns and injuries.
You may argue that you do not play with firecrackers, but take into consideration that the majority of injuries that impact the eyes occur in bystanders! Hence precautions are a must.
Before you step into the festive vibe, here are five simple eye safety tips for Diwali.
1 Being Cautious With Firecrackers
Apart from the obvious environmental damage that bursting firecrackers brings, there are serious issues like eye safety involved too. Medical experts strongly discourage firework play of any kind, and so do we. Crackers are dangerous, and mishandling makes them hazardous. But if you intend to burst a few, make sure you take the necessary precautions to keep everyone around you safe. Make sure to keep your distance and also avoid covering crackers with tins, boxes, or bottles for sound effects. They can burst into small pieces and can damage your or your loved one’s eyes forever.
2 Taking Care Of Contact Lenses
Wearing contact lenses while bursting crackers or being near them is not advisable. Contact lenses can irritate the eyes if exposed to heat for a longer period. Maintain a safe distance while lighting firecrackers and at least five meters while watching. An even safer option would be to wear eye protection, like safety goggles, sunglasses, or zero power eyeglasses while lighting the firecrackers.
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3 Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
“Due to the smoke or particles of the crackers flying in the air, your eyes may feel itchy. However, DO NOT rub them. Rubbing the eyes can enhance the pain and irritation, and can also cause secondary eye infections”, states Dr. Deepak Garg, a cataract and pediatric eye specialist based out of Mumbai. In such cases, use gauze or a cold cotton pad over the affected area to ease the problem. And if the irritation persists, do not wait to consult an eye doctor.
4 Washing Your Hands
Wash your hands thoroughly after handling any cracker or flammable object. These objects usually leave a trail of soot and chemicals on your hands. These chemicals can cause redness and irritation to your eyes. Hence we recommend you wash your hands first to prevent the development of eye infections.
5 Wearing Spectacles
The enchanting sparkle of crackers, in reality, possess various harmful chemicals such as barium and dioxins. Both of these compounds are radioactive chemicals. “The particles and spark emitted from the cracker, and the concentrated fumes it leaves behind can cause harm to your eyes. Here, wearing a simple spectacle frame can prove very helpful. This will protect the eye by acting as a shield to any foreign bodies.” recommends Dr. Garg.
You do not necessarily need a prescription to wear them. A trendy zero-power eyeglass is always an option! Wondering where to find stylish eyeglasses that will match your festive outfit.
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6 Avoiding Smog
Smog, smog everywhere! The smoke released from crackers mixes with the moisture in the air to form smog. This smog is extremely harmful to our lungs and body. I am sure everyone remembers the situation of Delhi post-Diwali 2016, the smog, low visibility, grievous health issues, and breathing trouble. “Stay indoors when the air quality is poor, as excessive smog is capable of reducing our visual capabilities, and can cause mishaps while traveling,” suggests Dr. Garg
7 In Case Of An Eye Injury
In the worst-case scenario that you hurt your eyes, follow these basic steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Wash your eyes and check for any external debris that can be removed carefully.
- Do not rub or scratch your eyes as it may aggravate the injury.
- If there is bleeding in the eye, use a clean cotton pad as a patch to cover up the injured area and quickly rush to the nearest hospital.
In the case of a deep eye injury, do not apply any local ointment, do not rub the eyes, it may worsen the injury. Immediately consult an eye specialist.
Diwali is a time for celebrations and fun. So be extra cautious when playing with fireworks especially with children around.
Have a safe and happy Diwali 2021!
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