A woman was lucky not to be blinded after wax fell into her eye from a sky lantern, almost entirely eroding her cornea.
Lynn Baird, 27, was helping a friend release a lantern during a party in a field on 22 May when a wax cube fell directly into her eye.
The wax caused 80 per cent erosion to her cornea and left her with second-degree skin burns.
‘It was agony’
Ms Baird, an English teacher from Broxburn now living in the Czech Republic, was left in agony as the wax left her unable to open her right eye.
Medics told her it was a ‘miracle’ that her sight remains intact, as she would have been blinded if the burns had gone any deeper.
Describing the incident, Ms Baird said: “I held [the lantern] up to let it go and as it floated off, the wax cube dislodged or melted too quickly and fell off right into my eye, while it was on fire.
"I was in a bit of shock for the first few seconds, so I almost didn't feel it until I had processed what had happened.
"I heard everyone around me start to freak out and that's when it hit me.
"It was agony, it was in my eye and burning. I couldn't open my eye because of both the wax and the pain.
"It was difficult to even open up my unaffected eye because the burnt eye was tensing shut and causing the other to do so because of the pain.”
Ms Baird said she immediately rushed to the bathroom to try and remove the wax from her face, which left her skin red raw.
She added: "My face was red raw and my eye was full of white wax.
"There came a point in removing the wax when I couldn't tell the difference between the wax and the burnt eye tissue.
“I was scared to keep removing things from my eye so my boyfriend tried to call an ambulance.
"We ended up having to drive for 40 minutes to the nearest hospital, in Kyjov.”
After being examined by a doctor, Ms Baird had to have the remaining wave and burned tissue removed.
Medics told her that her cornea had suffered 80 per cent erosion and the burns on her face were second degree, with the nurse saying she had ”never seen anything like this in her life”.
On the road to recovery
Almost two weeks after the incident, Ms Baird’s eye is now nearly healed and she is due to take up a position as a high school teacher in Brno in September.
Despite her eyesight initially being very blurry, and pain making it difficult to keep her right eye open, Ms Baird is now on the mend and said she is lucky to have come away relatively unscathed.
She said: “I have to say I'm amazed at the body's ability to heal.
"I have red marks all around my eye but I doubt it'll lead to prominent scarring. My eye is virtually healed.
“The last doctor I saw told me my cornea had almost fully healed and was happy to send me home without booking a follow-up appointment.
"My eyesight is a tiny bit worse on the right side but it's nothing I can't deal with considering, I already wear glasses.
“In the beginning, I had to use pain killers but luckily that's no longer the case. I feel lucky because while it was an unlucky, freak accident, I've come away relatively unscathed.
"I still have my sight, the injury is becoming less visible by the day and it could've been far worse had my friends and the doctors not done the things they did to help.
"It's very possible, if the burns had gone deeper, I could've been blinded.”
As the burns only affected her cornea, which is the top layer of the eye, the damage to her sight now is likely to be from scarring on the surface.
A warning to others
Despite her impressive recovery, Ms Bair has warned of the dangers of using the sky lanterns and urged people to be careful.
She said: “They're not always properly made and to be honest, I'm glad it was me who ended up injured, rather than a child, a friend, or an animal.
"The lanterns are dangerous for many reasons, they can start fires and are dangerous for the environment.
“They're not just an innocent party piece. Don't make the same mistake that I did.
"I won't be using one again personally, that's for sure and I'd strongly suggest others do the same."
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