At least 12 children from Hyderabad and surrounding areas have lost eyesight in one eye in the past 40-odd days since the coronavirus lockdown began. And this has nothing to do with Covid-19.
Thanks to the popular ‘Mahabharat’ and ‘Ramayan’ serials being rerun on TV, many children have started playing with homemade bows and arrows fashioned mostly out of broomsticks. When an ill-aimed ‘arrow’ hits its mark, parents are being forced to rush their kids with pierced eyes to the nearest hospital.
Hospitals in the city have reported around 25 such injuries (both blunt and piercing) caused by bow-and-arrow games. Of these, 12 cases were reported at the two tertiary care hospitals — the Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital and the LV Prasad Eye Hospital (LVPEI).
“When Ramayana was telecast about two decades back, we saw many bow-and-arrow injuries,” said Dr Subhadra Jalali, director of Retina Institute at LVPEI. “For about 15 years we did not see these injuries, but the numbers are starting to rise again. In an attempt to copy the central characters (from TV shows), kids make their own bow-and-arrow games.”
Among the injured was a seven-year-old boy from Shamshabad. The kids fashioned a bow from the midriff of a coconut leaf and arrows from broomsticks. A flying broomstick pierced one of his eyes. Despite a surgery to save the detached retina, he lost his vision.