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Keeping Your Eyes Safe from Fireworks

In the month surrounding the Fourth of July, an average of 280 people go to the emergency room each day with fireworks-related injuries.

This July, South East Eye encourages our community to take care when using backyard fireworks.

H1: Fireworks safety 101

Every year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission publishes an annual report about fireworks-related injuries and deaths. Last year, fireworks were involved in five deaths and an estimated 9,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. More than half of these injuries (62%) occurred between June 22ndand July 22nd

Although people most frequently injure their hands (28% of all fireworks-related injuries) and legs (24% of all injuries), eye injuries are also very common, making up 19% of all fireworks-related injuries.

Fireworks can result in chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, or even a ruptured globe, all of which can result in permanent vision loss.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following safety tips when using fireworks:

  • Do not allow young children to play with fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers can get up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and can even melt some metals.
  • Older children should only use fireworks under close adult supervision.
  • Make sure to set off fireworks outside in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves, grass, or any other flammable materials.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dark place. 
  • Never light fireworks in a container.
  • Do not attempt to relight or handle fireworks that fail to explode. Soak them with water before disposing of them.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over the firework as you’re lighting it.
  • Always obey local laws.

If you suspect that you or your child has experienced an eye injury from a firework, what should you do?

  • Seek immediate medical attention. A fireworks-related eye injury is considered a medical emergency.
  • Do not rub your eyes.
  • Do not apply pressure.
  • Do not attempt to rinse your eyes.
  • Do not attempt to remove the object.
  • Do not take any pain medication unless instructed to by a doctor.

Keep in mind that people who don’t handle the fireworks can still be injured by them. A study found that 65% of people injured by fireworks are bystanders.

Our entire staff at South East Eye is excited to wish you a safe and happy summer! Don’t forget these safety tips the next time you handle fireworks. For more information about our eye care services, contact us today.

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