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Eye injuries see a rise this Deepavali

Karnataka Bureau

Most cases are reported after five in the evening, say doctors

— PHOTO: K. Murali Kumar

LESSONS UNLEARNT: The festival is yet to come to an end, and doctors are bracing themselves for more cases.

BANGALORE: The festival of lights brought no cheer for young Pravin: this 10-year-old native of Mulbagal taluk in Kolar district lost an eye on Friday for no fault of his. The child was passing by the Mulbagal bus-stand where a group of people were bursting crackers, and a rocket, instead of shooting upwards, hit Pravin straight in the eye.

Doctors at the Minto Eye Hospital in Bangalore, where his eye was operated upon, said they could not save the eye as the boy washed his eye immediately after he was hurt, thereby pushing poisonous chemicals from the firecracker further into the eye.

In an eerie coincidence, another boy, also named Pravin, lost his right eye in a similar fashion on Saturday. This unfortunate 15-year-old is from Banaswadi in Bangalore, and he too was an innocent bystander.

On the rise

Both these boys, as well as another patient, are three major cases of eye injury at the hospital, which is reporting a rise in the number of eye injuries this Deepavali. Resident Medical Officer (RMO) Chandraprabha told The Hindu that compared to the 55 cases reported during the last festive season, there were close to 30 cases already this year, that too in just two days, much before the festival has ended.

In Narayana Nethralaya too, there were 27 cases of injuries reported till Saturday evening, 17 of them children. However, the increase in numbers was limited to eye injuries as only three minor cases of burns were reported at Victoria Hospital.

Most of the injuries are reported after five in the evening.

10 cases in Hubli

The trend in rising number of injuries was evident in Hubli too: doctors at the M.M. Joshi Eye Institute have treated 10 cases in the past two days, two requiring surgical intervention.

Dr. Krishnaprasad from the institute said that in most cases, minute particles and gunpowder entered the eyes and, in worst cases, they have had to be removed through surgery.

“Every year at least 50 patients come here from Hubli, Dharwad and surrounding districts during and after Deepavali. Others come to the hospital after a few days complaining about eye-related problems,” he said. In most cases, he added, the injured are unsuspecting passersby or bystanders.

Happy exception

So far this year, the Karnataka Institute of Health Sciences (KIMS) Hospital has had no cracker-related injuries. “Every Deepavali, we used to have at least four to five cases of such injuries. Fortunately this year, none has been reported so far,” said KIMS Director M.G. Hiremath.

District Health Officer N.M. Angadi also said this was the case in the entire district.

Wet Deepavali

Heavy rain in Mysore and surrounding areas forced people indoors and ensured a wet Deepavali with hardly any firecrackers burst to mark Naraka Chaturdasi on Friday. District Health Officer Nagaraj said no burns cases had been reported as of late Saturday. The Casualty Ward of K.R. Hospital in the city saw no such emergencies. Enquiries with Vasan Eye Care Hospital turned up a similar scenario.

Cracker sales up

Apart from minor incidents of burns on the hands while bursting crackers, no serious incidents were reported in Gulbarga district. Enquiries in the Government General Hospital and the Basaveshwar Teaching and General Hospital revealed that no major cases reported in the district.

Meanwhile, shops selling firecrackers in the district boasted a 20 to 30 per cent increase in business this year.

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