By Dr Ahmad Abbadi, Ophthalmologist at Al-Bahar Eye Centre
February is considered to be a hallmark in every Kuwaiti’s calendar. It is the month of celebration of our beloved country Kuwait. Every year on the 25th and 26th of February, all people in Kuwait celebrate the National and Liberations Days of Kuwait, either by enjoying the multiple events happening all over the country or by creating new ways to express their love to Kuwait.
Nevertheless, some people might take extra measures in expressing their love that might be considered dangerous to other individuals. For example, it has been estimated that over 95 cases of eyes injuries were reported in Kuwait in 2022. These injuries have been inflicted by the use of water balloons and water sprays. Water under high pressure can cause trauma to the eyes, from superficial injuries to sudden blindness, where there is no return from it.
The eye is a soft tissue that is surrounded by a bony structure (bony orbit) that functions to protect the eyes from harm. In addition, each eye in covered by a thin layer of skin called eyelids to lubricate and guard the eyes from harmful substances such as dirt. The eye is a miraculous thing containing many small structures that all function together to allow us to see the world and enjoy the multiple activities happening during our month of celebration in Kuwait.
As an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) working in Kuwait, I have observed many cases of eye injuries related to water balloons and water guns during the month of February. They can range from superficial wounds and cuts to ruptured globes; in other words, the eye globe is cut open and this can result in blindness.
In addition, the eye is a sensitive organ — it is responsible for our eyesight. The retina which is found at the back of the eyes is of extreme importance to eyesight. Even with the protections of the bony structures surrounding the eyes, any forceful trauma, for example water balloons, can cause disruption of the retina, thus causing sudden eyesight loss.
On the 24th of February while I was on duty, I was called to assess an emergency case secondary to a water balloon injury of a female in her 40s while she was in a car and had the windows open. She was on a wheelchair with her eyes completely shut due to swelling. Her vision was compromised significantly with multiple injuries to the cornea. The patient was bleeding from her eyes due to the trauma. Due to this significant case, the patient was sent for imaging and dilatation of the pupil to visualize any abnormalities that might have occurred to the retina.
My message to all individuals in Kuwait — have fun and enjoy the events and the numerous activities happening in Kuwait during the month of celebration. Nevertheless, do not forget to protect yourselves and others. Most importantly, protect your eyes to enjoy the National and Liberation Days in Kuwait.
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