Shroff Eye Hospital is India's First Eye Hospital accredited by the Joint Commission International (USA) since 2006. Shroff Eye is also India's first and only Wavelight Concerto 500 Hz LASIK center. Shroff Eye has stood for excellence in eye care since 1919. A firm commitment to quality is at the heart of all services provided at our centers at Bandra(W) and Marine Drive, Mumbai.
The sparkle and dazzle of Diwali charms us all. There is a happy buzz with homes lit up brightly, families shopping cheerfully and folks all dressed up for this festival. Every home is glorious with the wonderful “kandils” or lanterns and the happy chatter of folks and children ring in the air. However, while enjoying the happy moments of Diwali, most people tend to overlook some important things that may prove disastrous for their health. The spectacle of the fireworks is something of a tradition in our festivals. However, the bright fireworks and zooming rockets may well prove to be hazardous if not handled carefully. Playing with firecrackers and sparkles without taking care or with a carefree attitude could be dangerous. Adults often do not supervise children, and such practices are very risky.
Sparklers are one of the major causes of firework injuries requiring hospitalization. Most of these injuries occur among preschool-age children. Sparklers are dangerous because they burn at a temperature hot enough to melt gold (1,800° F). Most fireworks contain gunpowder, which causes these devices to explode. Because fireworks are unpredictable, injuries can occur even if the person is careful or is under supervision. Nearly 40 percent of fireworks injuries are to bystanders. Men and boys are the most common users of fireworks. That’s why four out of every five fireworks injuries happen to males. Men between the ages of 22-44 and boys ages 12-14 are the most common victims. Bottle rockets are among the most dangerous fireworks available today. They account for the majority of all fireworks injuries that lead to permanent eye damage. Bottle rockets can move as fast as 200 miles per hour, explode in mid air and fly in any direction. Homemade fireworks are often more hazardous. Those who make their own fireworks tend to combine the chemicals from other devices to create a bigger and more dangerous explosion. The cost of treating a fireworks injury far outweighs the cost of a single fireworks package, which is on an average about Rs 40. “The incidences of eye injuries caused by fire crackers rises dramatically on Diwali days especially with so many new and unfamiliar firecrackers entering the market every year, which in turn have turned this beautiful festival into a nightmare for some families. The lure of using more spectacular and modern firecrackers is irresistible to many. Last Diwali we had 3-4 emergency cases in our private hospital alone from well-educated families and I am sure that there must have been many more in other hospitals of this city as well. Children are the most affected ones,” said ophthalmologist Dr Anand Shroff of Shroff Eye Hospital, Bandra.
“Most of the eye injuries may result into permanent visual loss and force a person to live a visually handicapped life, while in fact such injuries are largely preventable and avoidable.
This trend of playing with dangerous objects should be seriously addressed and it is imperative to take some precautions on this special occasion”.
Infants, children, pregnant women, asthmatics and senior citizens are at a greater risk of injuries and shock. The constant smoke can cause irritability and watering of eyes. Fumes, emanating from firecrackers, may also cause laryngitis and other throat infections. Pollution levels rise by about six to 10 per cent during Diwali, with nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide levels rising considerably. Also, noise pollution levels cross the permitted levels. It is therefore little left to wonder why people escape from Mumbai during these days!!
In fact, the Supreme Court has already imposed restrictions on firecrackers with a high decibel noise.
The government has been asked to follow the new norms strictly. A writ petition was filed in September 2000, asking for restriction on firecrackers. Ruling in favour of the petitioner, the SC has issued the relevant orders. Accordingly, citizens can light firecrackers only from 6pm to 10pm. No firecrackers can be lit between 10pm till 6 in the morning.
Any firecracker that emanates a sound of over 125 decibels, four meters from the spot it is lighted, has been banned from production. Garlands of firecrackers that comprise 50, 100 or more numbers should not cross the decibel levels of 115, 110 and 105 respectively. All such firecrackers that produce noise beyond the permitted levels have been banned.
As medical experts point out, blasting sounds caused by firecrackers that send the decibel levels soaring, can permanently damage eardrums and cause hearing impairment.
With a combined effort from the Government and the people of our city we should regulate the supply of fire crackers and explosives to the market, stop the sale of the most dangerous types of fireworks to consumers and thus avoid accidents which are life and sight threatening to our children.
FIRST-AID FOR INJURIES BURNS:
- Rinse the burnt area, without scrubbing it, and immerse it in cold water; do not use ice water.
- Blot dry the area and cover it using sterile gauze or a clean cloth.
- If chemical burn then flush the exposed area with cool water immediately for 15 to 20 minutes
- Do not rub your eyes.
- Use the corner of a soft clean cloth to draw particles out, or hold the eyelids open and flush the eyes continuously with water.
- If a particle is large or stuck in the eye, do not attempt to remove it.
- Keep eyes closed and go to the eye doctor.
- If there is any chemical that has entered the eyes, immediately irrigate the eyes and under the eyelids, with water, for 30 minutes. Seek an eye doctor immediately