Sightsavers blog

Eye safety tips for Holi

Sighstavers India, March 2014
Holi safety

All geared up to have a blast this Holi? Just make sure you play safe and do not cause harm to your eye sight. Each year, several cases of eye damage and sight loss are reported on Holi due to unprotected and hazardous play. The best way to avoid them is to take the following eye safety measures:

  • Avoid synthetic colours: They contain industrial dyes and harmful chemicals which can cause irritation, pink eye (conjuctivitis), blurry vision and even blindness in cases of extreme exposure
  • Use natural colours instead: Natural substances such as Henna, Turmeric, Beetroot, Marigold and Hibiscus flowers can be used to create safe and eye-friendly colours
  • Do not throw water balloons: They are the most common cause of eye injuries on Holi. Water balloons can hit people directly on the face and cause irreparable damage to the eyes. The resulting trauma may lead to bleeding, swelling, subluxation (lens displacement), or retinal detachment.  These conditions may result in permanent vision loss
  • Keep water guns away from the face: Water guns and pichkaris, if aimed directly at the face, hold the potential to cause serious damage to the eyes. Wearing protective eye wear while playing with water guns is also highly recommended
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses: Colour may get trapped between the lens and cause infection. Contact lenses may also absorb some of the harmful chemicals, aggravating the problem due to continued exposure.

Do not rub the eyes if colour enters them. Wash them immediately with clean water. If it is accompanied by a burning sensation, wash with milk. This will help neutralise the acidity. In case of any injury to the eye, especially due to a high-speed balloon or water gun, contact emergency health services immediately. Any delay will only make the injury worse.

Sightsavers wishes everyone a happy, fun and safe Holi. Enjoy drenching yourself in colour without worry by observing the above-mentioned eye safety tips.

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