Balloons, Chemicals Hurt Your Vision

Holi has become a major cause for eye injuries, and incidences of permanent eye damage especially in Children, says Dr. Vandana Jain

MUMBAI, Mar 4 (The CONNECT) – As the festival of colour Holi approaches, experts from Dr Agarwal Eye Hospital have urged people to avoid using chemical-based colours and water balloons.

“Holi has become a major cause for eye injuries, and incidences of permanent eye damage especially in Children is a major cause of concern”, said Dr. Vandana Jain, Regional Head – Clinical Services, Vashi, Dr Agarwals Eye Hospitals.   

Water balloons causes impact injury which can damage the eyes permanently. The impact from the water balloon can lead to bleeding eyes, lens dislocation, and retinal detachment. The nature of injury are generally severe and may lead to permanent, she said.  

Holi is a festival of colours, and it is unfortunate that during such a joyful occasion, eye injuries incidences across the country spike. Every year thousands of cases of eye injury are reported from cross the country on and after Holi. It is sad that joy and happiness of the festival of colours turns into grief and sorrow for some. Most people are unaware of the consequences of synthetic chemical based colours on the eyes, skin and other parts of the body. Markets are filled with low quality chemical colours which can have a harmful effect on the eyes and in cases may also cause long-term complication, even leading to permanent vision loss.

Dr Vandana Jain said, “when synthetic colours get into the eyes, they cause a burning sensation, redness, and swelling. These harmful chemicals also cause allergic reactions and can lead to infections and other injuries. As synthetic and toxic chemical which include industrial dyes, and alkalis are used to make these Holi colours they have a copious amount of hazardous chemicals like mercury, asbestos, silica, mica, and lead which are toxic in nature and very harmful to the entire body. As eyes are one of the most sensitive organs any interaction with these harmful chemicals can permanently damage the eyes, often leading to permanent loss of vision.”

Dr Jain explained, “Water balloon are another major worry. Children often throw them at each other without understanding the consequences. An ill-timed balloon landing on the face can cause ocular damage and permanent injuries to the eyes. We have often seen patients coming to us with fractured eye sockets, detached retinas, and even blindness from water balloon exploding on the face during Holi.”

“If we follow certain precaution and measures, then it is quite possible to avoid any kind of eye injury during Holi. It is very important for parents to be aware of what their wards are using to play Holi. Parents must guide their wards and encourage them to speak with their friends on how to celebrate the festival of colours, Holi, in a safe and secure way,” she said.

“Today, there are better options are available in the market like organic colours and traditional colours which are made from flowers, turmeric and other organics products and dyes which are not harmful to our body,” she said. 

Rubbing the eyes can lead to corneal abrasion or can damage the cornea. It may also lead to eye infections and other complications. If the color has accidentally entered the eye, immediately cleanse the hands thoroughly with soap. Then, take a palm full of water and gently try blinking the eyes in the water. Avoid, splashing water into the eye, as it can aggravate the injury. It is also not advisable to use handkerchief or tissue to remove any particulate matter in the eyes as it can further aggravate the injury. 

Contact lenses have hygroscopic properties which mean it can easily absorb water. Therefore, if any color enters the eye, it increases the risk of allergies and infections. The best solution is to use your glasses or opt for a disposable contact lens that can be discarded immediately if there is any sign of eye irritation.

The most important thing to note is to avoid self-medication. In case there are indications of eye injury or damage, then consult an eye expert immediately. We Indians, tend to try home remedies or use any available eye drops or ointment, without consulting the doctor, this often leads to more injury rather that healing. We should immediately rush to the nearest eye care professional, in case of persistent redness, watering, discharge, itching, discomfort, trauma, bleeding.