Holi is being celebrated with the usual frolic throughout the country and the primary risk associated with this festival of colours is exposure to harmful chemicals.Holi: Learn How Toxic Colours Can Harm Your Eyes By Dr Srinivasan G Rao

To play it safe, it is important to use non-synthetic colours which are not harmful to your skin and eyes.

If you are wondering how to make natural colours, here are few tips.

How To Make Natural Holi Colours:

Depending on the colour of your choice you can use gram flour, turmeric, fuller’s earth, sandalwood powder and henna powder. These items can be used to make a myriad of colours.

Flowers like Marigold and Gulmohar, and vegetables like beetroot can be easily used in creating fine colours. Most of these ingredients are used in kitchens, so it’s also a bonus for the skin, and they smell great.

Put some pieces of beetroot in boiling water and let it stay overnight. The next day you will have amazing coloured water to play with.

Take some black grapes and amla and cut them in fine pieces. Put the pieces in boiling water and let the water cool down to get a nice black colour for Holi.

For yellow coloured powder grind few dry petals of Marigold flower in a mixer. You can also use turmeric powder since it is also very good for the skin.

Prepare a green powder by putting spinach, mint and neem leaves in hot water and let it stay for some time. You can also make dry green colour by grinding dried leaves of spinach, mint and neem leaves.

Why Should You Avoid Toxic Colours:

Toxic and dry coloured powders contain chemicals like lead oxide, copper sulphate, heavy metals, alkalis mica, asbestos etc., which are very harmful to your eyes.

In case, if you get exposed to these toxic colours while playing Holi and if these chemicals get inside the eyes, they can produce disastrous results.

The chemical reaction causes allergic conjunctivitis, chemical burns, laceration, corneal erosion, epithelial defect and lid oedema. Water ballons which are used to sprinkle coloured water can blunt trauma leading to bleeding, laceration, lens subluxation, dislocation of the lens, macular oedema, retinal detachment.

 What You Should Do?

 Stay calm. If you are wearing contact lens, remove immediately.

 Rinse eyes with lots of drinking water.

Do not rub eyes.

Do not try to remove particles with handkerchief or tissue paper.

Use lubricating drops.

Try and see the ophthalmologist as early as possible


Dr Srinivasan G Rao, MBBS, MS Phaco Refractive Surgeon is a Regional Head, Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, Chennai