Holi- the festival of colours is almost upon us. Like last year, the cloud of the Covid-19 pandemic hangs over the festival this year too. Though the vaccination programme has commenced; it will take some time before a large section of our population is vaccinated.
Considering this, and the recent surge in the number of positive cases, we all have to keep our guard up and prevent spread of the dreaded virus by following social distancing norms and maintaining high levels of personal and public hygiene. In my opinion, it would be best to avoid playing Holi this year or just playing it indoors amongst the family members. However for those who still do go out and play, it is important to do so safely by avoiding large gatherings, wearing masks at all times and frequent sanitization to avoid any bitter experiences.
Though the festival of Holi has been enjoyed by people of all ages from time immemorial, gone are the days when only flowers and vegetables were used for making colours. Synthetic chemical colours have become the order of the day. Although people have become
Increasingly conscious about using natural and organic colors, a lot of people still use the inexpensive synthetic colors which are easily available in the market.
Eyes are amongst the most sensitive and the most vulnerable parts of the body, especially during festivals like Holi.Playing holi safely should be the first priority. I am listing a few points of caution below. These eye care tips should also be explained to children to keep them aware and alert on how to keep their eyes safe.
Not taking care of your eyes when playing with colours during Holi can result in eye irritation or allergies or even temporary blindness.
Eye care tips for a safe and joyful Holi:
The first and utmost important step is to cover your eyes. Sunglasses should serve you very well for this purpose. If someone smudges color
on your face, the first thing you should do is to close your eyes and will be best to cover your eyes with your palms.
APPLY A GOOD MOISTURIZER
Apply a good moisturizer or cold cream around your eyes to avoid getting any colour. Coconut oil can also be used for this purpose. The cream acts as a shield from Holi colours because of it’s oily cream base. It protects the direct contact of colour with skin and also helps in the washing of color post festivities.
DO NOT WEAR CONTACT LENSES
Another important thing is to avoid wearing contact lenses while playing Holi. There are chances of color getting trapped between the lens and the eye which can be very harmful. In case you still go ahead and play Holi with lenses on, please dispose of them thereafter.
AVOID RUBBING OF EYES
If colour gets into your eyes, the first thing you should do is rinse your eye with clear running water, preferably cold, two to three times. If it is causing any irritation to avoid rubbing the eye. Rubbing may aggravate the situation, best will be to visit an Ophthalmologist for further treatment.
TIE YOUR HAIR
Tie your hair while playing Holi. If the hair gets wet it will stop the colour from dripping into your eyes. It is a basic and effective eye care tip while playing Holi. Also, oil your hair before you go out to play as it makes washing off the color easier.
USE NATURAL COLORS
Synthetic colors contain toxic heavy metals like lead which can cause pink eye, eye allergies, or even abrasions on the eye surface. Avoid them for a safe Holi.
AVOID WATER BALLOONS
One of the favourites during Holi is the water balloons. However, these can be dangerous as they can cause blunt eye trauma.
Do follow the tips and share them to have a happy and safe Holi!
Authored by: Dr. Seshachalam Nitin, MBBS, MS, Cataract & Lasik Surgeon, MaxiVision Super Speciality Eye Hospitals, Hyderabad