Glitter bombs neither fabulous nor funny

I’m not sure who originally coined the phrase describing so called glitter bombs as the most fabulous form of protest, and I don’t particularly care. I do know that I looked at them as little more than a showboating annoyance by people hoping to score some camera time. Of course, Republicans seem to be the primary targets of these displays, with attacks launched at Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, just to name a few. (We’ve got somebody with a camera following Ed Morrissey around at CPAC in case they try for him. Stay tuned.)

But at least one medical authority is saying that so called glitter bombs are no laughing matter, and in rare cases can lead so serious medical problems, up to and including blindness.

In an increasingly popular form of protest, activists are throwing glitter on unsuspecting targets. Dubbed “glitter bombing,” the sparkly stuff is often meant to protest a politician’s opposition to same-sex marriage…

But Stephen Glasser, an optometrist in downtown Washington, tells ITK that while they might seem harmless, glitter bombs can cause real damage: “If it gets into the eyes, the best scenario is it can irritate, it can scratch. Worst scenario is it can actually create a cut. As the person blinks, it moves the glitter across the eye and can actually scratch the cornea.” Although not likely, it can even cause a potential loss of sight.

That’s almost what happened to one of Glasser’s patients, who was out at a New Year’s Eve soiree where partygoers were tossing glitter around: “It literally scratched not the cornea, but the white of the eye … [S]ince [glitter isn’t] exactly what you’d call sterile, there’s not only a chance of a scratch, but giving the person an infection.”

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve had no less than three incidents of scratching my cornea. (One, embarrassingly, took place while napping on my couch when two of the cats decided to use my face as a racetrack.) While it didn’t result in permanent injury, I can tell you that a scratched cornea hurts like the dickens. Fortunately, the cover of the cornea is one of the fastest healing membranes in the body, but you still wind up needing topical pain killer and a jaunty eye patch for a couple of days.

The article also notes that inhaling the sharp little pieces of glitter can result in cuts deep in the sinus tract and secondary infections. Either way, if injury such as this does result from one of these “peaceful protest” actions, I would be fully in favor of upping the resulting charges to assault resulting in bodily harm. It’s time to grow up, put away the glitter, and argue your political views in a responsible, adult fashion. You’re not scoring any points with the pixie dust, people.