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What to do and what not to do in case of eye injury due to firecrackers?

By Dr. TS Sujata

Eyes are one of our most precious possessions, giving us the gift of vision and allowing us to experience the world in all its beauty. However, these delicate organs are also sensitive to injuries, and even minor eye injuries can have serious consequences if not treated promptly and properly. Whether the injury occurs at home, at work, or during a festive occasion like Diwali, knowing the correct first aid techniques can make a significant difference in the recovery process. In this article, we will discuss important steps to be taken when facing eye injuries, with a special focus on the increased risk of firecracker-related incidents during Diwali.

The sensitivity of the eye to injury cannot be overstated. It only takes a momentary lapse of attention, a small foreign object, or a chemical irritant to pose a threat to our vision. An important aspect of eye injury prevention and management lies in understanding correct first aid techniques and acting swiftly to resolve any issues. This is especially important during occasions like Diwali when the incidence of firecracker-related injuries increases.

The cornerstone of effective first aid in any situation is a calm and collected assessment of the circumstances. It is important to avoid panic in case of eye injury. One of the key rules is to never try to remove any foreign object, chemical or irritant from the eye yourself. If there are any foreign materials nearby or you suspect a chemical injury, seek professional medical attention immediately. Attempting to remove foreign objects without proper knowledge and equipment may cause further damage to the eye.

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How to Manage Eye Injury

Avoid rubbing eyes: It is human nature to want to rub the eye when something irritates it. However, this trend must be resisted at all costs. Rubbing your eye can cause a foreign object to scratch the cornea or other sensitive parts of the eye, making the injury worse.

Eye wash: If the injury is caused by chemical exposure or dust particles, the recommended action is to flush the affected eye with clean water. It is important to rinse immediately and continuously for at least 10 minutes with water to ensure that any chemicals or dust particles are completely washed away. This simple step can go a long way in reducing the severity of the injury.

Do not remove stuck foreign objects: If a foreign object is stuck in the eye, resist the urge to remove it yourself. Instead, use a protective eye shield if available and seek immediate medical attention. Untrained attempts to remove foreign objects may result in more damage, including scratches and deep penetration.

Avoid self-medication: Never resort to self-medication or use over-the-counter medicines obtained from a pharmacy without proper medical advice. The eye is a delicate organ, and use of inappropriate medications can cause permanent damage, leading to visual loss and other complications.

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Dealing with Fireworks Injuries

During occasions like Diwali, the risk of injuries caused by firecrackers is a cause for concern, as these injuries can cause serious and potentially irreversible damage to vision. It is important to know how to react to such injuries:

Eye wounds: If an eye is injured due to a firecracker explosion, the initial response should be to apply an eye pad or lightly applied clean bandage to the injured eye. However, this should only serve as temporary protection. It is necessary to refer the patient to the nearest ophthalmologist or eye hospital for more thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment.

Eye irritation: In cases of burns, immediate action is important. Washing the injured eye with clean water for at least 20 minutes can help reduce the severity of the injury. After this, cover the eye with a clean bandage and refer the patient to the nearest eye hospital without any delay.

Avoid poking the injured eye: Never attempt to blow air into an injured eye, as this may increase the damage. Similarly, avoid any attempts to remove embedded foreign objects, as these actions may cause further damage.

Proper first aid and seeking medical attention promptly is paramount when dealing with eye injuries. Be it at home, at work or during celebrations like Diwali, protecting your vision should be a top priority. By following the steps outlined in this article and seeking professional medical help when needed, you can significantly reduce the chance of partial or complete blindness and ensure the best possible outcome for preserving your vision.

Remember, your eyes are irreplaceable and their safety should be a priority. By remaining calm, assessing the situation, and taking appropriate action, you can play an important role in protecting your vision and that of your loved ones.

The author is General Ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon at Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, Kalyan.

(Disclaimer: This article is only for dissemination of relevant information. Please consult your doctor or health care specialist before making any changes to your diet, medication, exercise, lifestyle or health protocols.)

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