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Firecracker-related eye injuries soar this Deepavali in Bengaluru

Bengaluru: The fireworks during Deepavali have triggered an increase in the number of eye injuries reported in city hospitals.

Until Monday evening, four eye injury cases have been reported in Minto Eye Hospital, 28 at Shankara Eye Hospital, and 24 at different branches of the Narayana Eye Hospital. At the burns ward of Victoria Hospital, most cases reported during the festival have been eye injuries and no other burns.

Despite efforts to spread awareness and detailed explanations of preventive measures, doctors believe that the number of eye injuries could roughly be the same as last year or could have even increased.

At Shankara Eye Hospital, for instance, 23 cases were reported during the three days of Deepavali celebrations last year, while the numbers this year are close to 28 in just two days.

“There have also been cases of two one-year-olds being injured. However, all the injuries are minor,” said Dr Anand Balasubramaniam, Consultant, Cornea, Cataract and Refractive Services, Sankara Eye Hospital.

Dr Mallesh, Resident Medical Officer at Minto Eye Hospital, rued how counselling and other measures did not have an impact in reducing the number of eye injuries during Deepavali, the most tragic aspect of the festival every year.

“The counselling sessions and awareness programmes conducted before the festival seem to have not much of an impact. The cases are continuing to come in,” he said.

Dr Pooja Khamar, Consultant in Cataract and Refractive Services, at Narayana Nethralaya, thinks the number of eye injuries due to firecrackers have drastically reduced in the last five years.

“Nearly five years back, we used to see 20 to 25 cases every night during the festivals. Last year and this year, it has come down to as low as seven cases a night on average,” she said.

Dr Mallesh cautioned motorists and pedestrians to be on their guard since bystanders receive more eye injuries.

Unlucky bystanders

In Minto, three out of the four reported cases involved bystanders, while 10 of them wound up at Narayana Nethralaya among 24 cases the hospital had received so far.

Ophthalmologists said the actual numbers and the nature of eye injuries will emerge only next week since many with minor eye injuries visit local clinics and arrive at the hospitals at a later stage.

(Published 13 November 2023, 21:25 IST)

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