Gone are the days when only flowers and vegetables were used for making colours. Synthetic chemical colours are the order of the day. Although voices are being raised for a return to natural colours for playing Holi we have a long way to go before we get there.
Eyes are among the most sensitive and the most vulnerable parts of the body, especially during festivals like Holi. I am listing a few points of caution below.
Not taking care of your eyes when playing with colours during Holi can result in eye irritation or allergies, possible temporary blindness and skin infection. Some colours can be cancerous. Insist on playing with herbal colours.
- Always cover your eyes whenever there is a chance of colour coming in contact with them. Sunglasses are useful for this.
- Try to dissuade people from applying colour all over your face with their hands. If you fail to do so, be especially careful in keeping your eyes and lips tightly shut. Always request the person not to smear the colours near the eyes.
- Hats can also prevent coloured water from entering your eyes.
- If you are travelling by car, keep windows closed. Water balloons can be most damaging for your eyes as they can rupture the eyeball or cause further damage.
- Apply a thick coating of cold cream around your eyes. This ensures that colours can be easily removed when you wash your eyes. When washing keep the eyes tightly shut and use warm water.
- Children should be given only non-toxic colours.
- Keep contact number of your Ophthalmologist handy for any emergencies.
The wide range of eye injuries during Holi include:
- Allergic conjunctivitis
- Chemical burns
- Corneal abrasion
- Blunt trauma to the eye
If these colors enter the eye while playing, they cause mild redness and irritation which usually subsides after washing copiously with water. However, if there is intense pain and burning sensation, one must get an opinion from an ophthalmologist. Also, if vision clarity is affected, an eye doctor must be consulted.
You should be particularly wary of the granular particles of chemical colours. These are toxic and can cause corneal abrasion. This eye problem causes severe pain and needs to be treated by an expert for preventing the development of ulcer or infection.
Water balloons can be most dangerous and cause blunt trauma to the eye which may lead to bleeding in the eye, lens subluxation or dislocation, macular edema or retinal detachment. This may lead to loss of vision or even loss of eye. These are all eye emergencies and need to be looked into immediately.
It can be understood why it is important that everyone returns to natural colours during Holi. With such risks to health, festivities are far from what they are meant to be. One can easily substitute harmful chemicals with besan, palash leaves, beetroot soaked in water, henna powder, gulmohar, hibiscus flowers and many others for making all types of colours. Herbal gulal is also available in the market these days.
Have a happy, safe and natural Holi!