Eye Care During Uttarayana: Tips from Vadodara’s Leading Ophthalmologist, Dr. Surbhi Kapadia
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Eye Care During Uttarayana: Tips from Vadodara’s Leading Ophthalmologist, Dr. Surbhi Kapadia

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The Uttarayana festival, also known as Makar Sankranti, is a time of joy and celebration in Gujarat, particularly in Vadodara. On January 14th (Uttarayan) and January 15th (Vasi Uttarayan), the sky fills with colourful kites, and the spirit of festivity is palpable.

Colourful kites filling up the sky on Uttarayan is a mesmerizing sight. This festivity is best cherished with goodies like Undhiyu, Jalebi, Sugarcane, Chikkis etc. This is that time of the year when celebrations ring in the air and happiness touches every heart. But despite all the happiness, there can be certain incidents that can mar your fun-filled day.

Flying a kite is so much fun you might be tempted to risk it when it is not safe. Don’t! The danger is often very great to you and other people. However, amidst this excitement, it’s vital to prioritize eye health, especially during the enthusiastic kite flying (Patang flying) sessions. Kite-flying is addictive. Being on the terrace and flying kites the whole day is a part of the culture of the city. However, kite-flying can be injurious to your eyes if you do not take proper care of your eyes during Uttrayan.

The Importance of Eye Care During Uttarayana for All Age Groups

Uttarayana, celebrated with great fervour in Gujarat, especially in Vadodara, is a festival that brings people of all ages together. The skies are adorned with colourful kites, and the excitement is tangible. However, this enjoyment comes with a responsibility, especially when it comes to protecting our eyes. Below are detailed eye care tips tailored for different age groups, ensuring everyone from children to the elderly can enjoy the festival safely.

For Children:

Children are often the most enthusiastic about kite flying during Uttarayana, but they are also the most vulnerable to eye injuries. Here’s how to keep their eyes safe:

Supervision is Key: Always have an adult supervise children while they fly kites.

Safety Gear: Encourage children to wear protective eyewear to guard against string cuts and debris.

Educate on Safe Kite Flying: Teach children about the dangers of running with kites and the risks posed by the manja (kite string).

Emergency Preparedness: Educate them on what to do if an eye injury occurs – like not rubbing their eyes and informing an adult immediately.

For Adults:

Adults too need to be cautious, as they might overlook safety in the excitement of the festival.

Wear Protective Sunglasses: This shields your eyes from UV rays and flying debris.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Avoid flying kites near roads or crowded places to reduce the risk of accidents.

Take Breaks: Regular breaks can help prevent eye strain from continuous exposure to sunlight.

For the Elderly:

Elderly individuals may enjoy watching the festivities more than participating actively. However, they still need to protect their eyes.

UV Protection: Ensure they wear sunglasses if they are out in the sun.

Clear Pathways: Make sure the areas where they are walking are free from kite strings or other obstacles to prevent falls.

Hydration and Rest: The elderly should take regular breaks and stay hydrated to avoid fatigue and eye strain.

General Tips:

Stay Hydrated: Keep your eyes moist and refreshed by staying well-hydrated.

Use Quality Kite Materials: Avoid using metallic or glass-coated manja, which can be more hazardous.

First Aid Kit: Keep a first aid kit handy, especially one equipped with saline solution in case of debris in the eyes.

Clothing and Accessories: Encourage wearing a polo neck t-shirt or scarf/dupatta to protect the neck. A cap or dark glasses can also shield the eyes from direct sunlight.

Awareness and Caution: Stress the importance of not flying kites by standing in narrow spaces or near terrace borders, and avoiding kite flying on roads or in galleries facing the road.

Eye care during Uttarayana is not just a personal responsibility but a collective one. By taking these precautions, we can ensure a safe and enjoyable festival for everyone involved, from the youngest child to the oldest family member. Remember, these tips are not just for eye care during Uttarayana but also for general eye care during winter in Gujarat.

Common Eye Injuries During Kite Flying and How to Avoid Them

Kite flying, an integral part of Uttarayana celebrations, can unfortunately lead to various eye injuries if proper precautions are not taken. Being aware of these common injuries and how to prevent them is key to a safe and enjoyable festival for everyone.

Cuts from Kite Strings (Manja):  The manja, often coated with glass or other sharp materials, can cause severe cuts to the eye and eyelid. 

  • Use safer, non-abrasive kite strings.
  • Wear protective eyewear, like safety goggles, while flying kites.
  • Educate children about the dangers of sharp manja.

Foreign Objects in the Eye: Small particles, debris, or fragments of kites can get lodged in the eye, causing irritation or scratches on the cornea.

Prevention Tips:

  • Wear sunglasses or protective glasses to shield your eyes.
  • If something gets into your eye, avoid rubbing it. Blink several times to allow tears to wash out, or use clean water or saline solution to rinse the eye.

UV Radiation Exposure: Long hours spent outdoors can expose eyes to harmful UV rays, leading to problems like photokeratitis.

Prevention Tips:

  • Wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.
  • Limit direct sun exposure, especially during the peak hours of sunlight.

Eye Strain from Bright Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to bright sunlight can cause strain and fatigue to the eyes.

Prevention Tips:

  • Use hats or caps along with sunglasses to minimize direct sunlight exposure.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade to give your eyes a rest.

Trauma from Accidents: Falls or collisions, especially in crowded places or while running with kites, can lead to blunt trauma to the eyes.

Prevention Tips:

  • Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid overcrowded areas.
  • Supervise children closely to prevent accidents.

Immediate Steps in Case of Injury:

  • Do not attempt to treat serious eye injuries yourself.
  • For minor debris in the eye, use clean water or saline solution to rinse it out.
  • In the event of a cut or blunt trauma, seek immediate medical attention.

Electrical Safety:  Never attempt to retrieve kites from electric poles and always fly kites away from power lines.

Bird Safety:  Be mindful of flying birds and try not to fly kites in their path. In case of bird injuries, contact bird doctors or NGOs offering immediate treatments.

For Two-Wheeler Drivers:  Wear a scarf or muffle around the neck and a full-face helmet to protect your face & eyes against cuts from manja. Drive slowly and avoid kite strings on the roads.

Remember: The joy of Uttarayana should not be marred by avoidable injuries. By being aware of these risks and taking the necessary precautions, we can ensure that this festive season is not only fun but also safe for our eyes.

Dr Surbhi Kapadia’s Guide to Preventive Eye Care During Uttarayana

Uttarayana is a time of joy and celebration, but it’s also crucial to protect your eyes from potential hazards associated with kite flying. Dr Surbhi Kapadia, Vadodara’s leading ophthalmologist, shares her expert advice on preventive eye care to ensure a safe and enjoyable festival for everyone.

  1. Protective Eyewear:Protective eyewear can shield your eyes from kite strings, debris, and UV rays. Choose goggles or sunglasses that fit well and offer side protection. Ensure they block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
  1. Environmental Awareness:Being aware of your surroundings can prevent accidents and injuries. Fly kites in open, safe areas away from crowded spaces. Be cautious of kite strings that may be hard to see.
  1. Safe Kite Handling:Proper handling of kites and strings can prevent cuts and injuries. Avoid using glass-coated or metallic manja. Teach children safe kite flying techniques.
  1. Regular Breaks and Hydration:Continuous kite flying can lead to eye strain and dehydration. Take breaks every 30 minutes to rest your eyes. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  1. First Aid for Minor Injuries:Knowing how to handle minor eye injuries can prevent complications. Keep a first aid kit with saline solution handy. In case of minor debris in the eye, gently rinse with the solution.
  1. Avoiding Rubbing Eyes:Rubbing can exacerbate eye injuries and introduce germs. If you feel something in your eye, blink several times or rinse with clean water instead of rubbing.
  1. Sun Protection:Prolonged exposure to sunlight can damage the eyes. Wear a broad-brimmed hat along with sunglasses for added protection.
  1. Child Supervision:Children are more prone to accidents during kite flying. Always supervise children, ensuring they follow safety precautions.
  1. Diet and Hydration: Maintain regular water intake, and consume fruits and routine food. Avoid readymade food; homemade snacks like Undhiyu, Jalebi, or Chikki are recommended.
  2. Rest and Recuperation:  Rest your eyes periodically to avoid strain, especially when looking up for extended periods. Wash your eyes every two hours to keep them clean and refreshed.
  3. Emergency Preparedness: Knowing what to do in an emergency can save sight. Have contact information for eye specialists like Dr. Surbhi Kapadia readily available. In case of serious injury, seek professional help immediately.

Aadicura Superspeciality Hospital’s Department of Ophthalmology & Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery is open during festival season for all kinds of emergency 24 x 7. Or Contact Dr Surbhi Kapadia on +91  8980 50 00 15

Dr Surbhi Kapadia emphasizes the importance of these preventive measures to enjoy Uttarayana safely. By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of eye injuries and ensure that this festive season remains a joyful experience for all.

What to Do in Case of an Eye Injury

In case of an eye injury, avoid rubbing your eyes and seek immediate medical attention. Contact a specialist like Dr. Surbhi Kapadia, particularly if you experience pain, redness, or vision changes.

Dr. Surbhi Kapadia’s Expertise and Services

Dr. Surbhi Kapadia, a renowned ophthalmologist and oculoplasty specialist in Vadodara, is your go-to expert for eye care. With years of experience and a commitment to patient wellness, she offers comprehensive eye care services at Aadicura Superspeciality Hospital.

Remember, precaution is always better than cure. Enjoy Uttarayana responsibly and safely by following these essential tips. Keep an eye on children, stay aware of your surroundings, and prioritize your eye health. Dr Surbhi Kapadia and her team wish everyone a Happy Makar Sankranti. May your skies be filled with colourful kites and your hearts with joy, but let’s not forget to take care of our precious eyes during the festivities. While Uttarayana is a time for fun and festivities, eye safety should never take a back seat. By following these eye care tips and being mindful of your surroundings, you can enjoy the festival without compromising your eye health. And remember, in case of any eye-related issues or emergencies during Makar Sankranti, Dr. Surbhi Kapadia is here to help.



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