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Stay safe if you are wearing contact lenses. Unsplash

The fun-filled Holi festival is around the corner and so are the celebrations usually filled with gulal, colors, water guns, and water balloons. Amid all the excitement, we might just take in colors through various organs without realizing it. While generally, we are more careful about our mouths and even noses, we often tend to think that the colors are only superficially affecting the surface of the eyes and not really getting inside.

However, in reality, some part of the color or other material more often than not does manage to ‘steal into’ our eyes impacting this extremely sensitive organ. Because of the noisy and the spirited nature of the celebrations, those wearing contact lenses might even forget that they are actually wearing lenses making it harder for themselves and their eyes.
The increased use of synthetic colors instead of natural colors in recent years makes it even more critical for people wearing contact lenses to be watchful.

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How Holi impacts your eye health

The free-spirited nature of Holi celebrations makes it almost inevitable that there is some degree of damage, however mild or limited, to the health of our eyes. From minor irritations and abrasions to redness and itching to allergies to infections to inflammation of eye parts, the vigorous and energetic act of playing with colors entails a substantial health cost for our eyes.

The harmful ingredients used in Holi colors

Most of the colors going around today usually are synthetic in nature containing toxic material such as industrial dyes and other harmful chemicals. Some of the other harmful ingredients being used in colored pastes today include lead oxide, copper sulfate, aluminum bromide, Prussian Blue, and Mercury Sulphite. Similarly, dry colors and gulal contain asbestos, silica, lead, chromium, cadmium, and others, all of which are detrimental to eye health.

How Holi colors affect contact lenses and eyes

Holi colors can affect your contact lenses and eyes. Unsplash

For those wearing contact lenses, they should know that the lenses absorb colors. And so the colors tend to stick to the surface of the lens thereby prolonging their stay within the eyes. And given that most of these colors contain toxic chemicals, the resultant impact on the eyes can be severe. The chemicals can damage or even lead to loss of epithelium, the protective covering for the cornea which can have spillover effects on other eye parts. For instance, the iris of the eye can experience serious inflammation.

What should you do if you wear contact lenses at the festival of Holi?

First, take your contact lenses off before joining the Holi celebrations.

Second, if you must use contact lenses and the use of which happens to be unavoidable, you can use disposable daily wear lenses. However, remember to wear new lenses once the celebrations are over.

Third, even if you are wearing daily disposable lenses, don’t allow any powder color or paste to get into your eyes.

Fourth, if you have forgotten to take your lenses off and at the slightest feeling that the eyes may have taken in chemicals from the colors, you must discard the lenses immediately and get new ones that are meant for daily use only. Remember never to try cleaning the same lens and continue wearing it.

ALSO READ: The Do’s And The Don’ts Of Contact Lenses

Fifth, if possible use glasses as a substitute for contact lenses. This is because glasses maintain a distance from the actual eyes, unlike lenses.

Sixth, if any color has entered your eyes, immediately wash them with clean water without rubbing your eyes.

Seventh, before going out to play Holi, you could consider applying cold cream around your eyes which would help get the color scrape off easily from the outer surface of the eyes. (IANS/SP)


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