Deepavali safer this year, fewer eye injuries reported in Bengaluru

In the days running up to Deepavali, doctors and other medical professionals were waiting with bated breath for an inflow of people with cracker-related injuries, primarily related to the eyes. However, the actual numbers have surprised them.

Doctors at eye specialty hospitals across the city had recorded very few cases in the first 30 hours of the festival, which in previous years would see scores of patients.

Dr Sujatha Rathod, Director, Minto Hospital, explained that last year, the hospital had treated nearly 60 people for fireworks-related eye injuries.

“This year, since the festival began on Saturday, we have had three cases,” Dr Sujatha explained. She, however, explained that they normally tracked fireworks-related injuries for up to three days after the end of Deepavali every year. Another four cases were reported by Narayana Nethralaya as of 8 pm on Sunday night.

All of the cases reported so far have been children.

At Minto, the first is a 12-year-old and a resident of Vijayanagar, whose family told the doctors that he was not even participating in the games.

“We were told that he was just a bystander, either passing by or watching somebody else lighting a flower pot,” Dr Sujatha explained.

The boy’s medical report shows him as having suffered superficial burns to the nose and the medial sides of the upper eyelids, but it is the condition of the eyes that worries the doctors the most. He has suffered a corneal abrasion, which has prompted a drop in vision.

“We have put a patch to allow the corneal epithelial defect to heal. Over time, we hope there will be no central scarring, which can impair vision.”

However, the number of cases appeared to increase when two injuries were reported within a span of a few hours on Sunday.

The first was a 13-year-old in SampigeHalli Layout who was injured after standing near a chain of bijli firecrackers. The boy is said to have suffered a lamellar corneal tear after multiple foreign bodies entered his eye. Minto said the boy is to be admitted for further clinical management.

The second is a four-year-old boy from Magadi Road, who was also described as being a bystander. The boy has suffered a conjunctival tear after fragments from a bijli firecracker entered his eye.

The four cases at Narayana Nethralaya were described as minor injuries. According to a hospital spokesperson, three are boys ranging from five to 17 years. The other is a three-year-old girl.

Meanwhile, at Shekar Hospital, Usha Keshav, Chief Operating Officer, clarified that the hospital had not registered any fireworks-related injuries so far.

“Last year, there were about 15 cases, but there have been none so far,” Usha said.

A spokesperson for Vikram Hospital and Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital also reported zero cases.

Minto Hospital to treat eye injuries

Much against the High Court order to ensure only green crackers are sold this Diwali, regular crackers were sold in many places.

However, due to the Covid-19, the number of buyers and the quantity of buying has come down drastically. Similarly, eye injuries due to the cracker bursting also came down drastically.

Every year large number pf children were being treated at the Minto ophthalmic hospital at the time of deepavali. This year also a special ward was set up to treat the children with eye injuries.

What is to be noted is that seven children were admitted to the state-run Minto Hospital over the last three days due to eye injuries caused due to cracker bursting.

The number is very less in other eye hospitals across the city.

According to the police sources, this year the number of accidents is less as a majority of parents didn’t buy the crackers due to the ban.

“The awareness level is also very high now. Parents don’t allow the children to burst the crackers,” explained a police officer.

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