Contributed by Dr Sowmya, Consultant, Pediatric ophthalmology and Strabismus, Sankara Eye Hospital, Bengaluru

Diwali, festival of lights is truly the brightest festival spreading happiness in a vast way. As beautiful as it looks, fireworks account for thousands of injuries every year.
Injuries to the eye are the second-most commonly affected after the hands and fingers. The majority of eye injuries occurs in bystanders. The number of people seeking treatment for firecrackers related eye injuries has only been increasing over the years. Prevention of such injuries is the need of the hour and is possible by being aware of the safety measures to be taken during lighting fireworks. By taking safety precautions, we will truly make Diwali, the festival of lights and not the festival of burns and injuries.
Happy and safe Diwali .
Eye care tips for this festive season:
• Store fireworks in a closed box in a safe location, away from the reach of children
• Make sure that you keep fireworks away from the face, hair and clothing
• Maintain a distance of an arm’s length while lighting firecrackers, and at least five metres while watching
• Defuse used fireworks properly by soaking them in a bucket of water before disposal
• In case of an accident, contact emergency medical services immediately. Do not rub, rinse or apply ointment to the eye. It may make the injury worse or difficult to examine.
• Caution for avoid irritation
• Light the crackers in open spaces, covering your eyes with goggles or spectacles and take care your hands are free from harmful chemicals.
• Avoid using contact lenses during lighting crackers. Use spectacles instead.
• Children should be allowed to light crackers only under parental or elders monitoring.
Eye injury: things to do
The first thing is to wash your face and eyes properly. Before splashing the water, you should check whether the hands are cleaned or not. Do not rub or scratch your eyes. If there is bleeding in the eye, immediately rush to the hospital and consult a doctor. Avoid sparklers that reach temperatures as high as 1000°C – high enough to melt gold and cause serious injury.
Injury may cause permanent vision loss also
Fire crackers related eye injuries could cause serious and irreparable damage to one’s vision. The damage of the eye by a cracker depends on the velocity of the cracker or the intensity which it hits the eye, the second one is the chemical reaction in the eye and the third is the thermal burn, which is the heat that is caused by the cracker.
Follow these tips for good eye health, you will be able to celebrate this Diwali with fireworks without worrying about the safety of your loved ones. Stay safe and celebrate festival of lights.

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