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Rockets’ Red Glare: Fireworks Eye Safety

Is there anything more American than hot dogs on the grill and fireworks in the sky? We all enjoy a patriotic pyrotechnics display, but fireworks are not without their risks.

Explosives Are Not Toys

To anyone lucky enough to have never been injured by fireworks, they might just seem like exciting lights and sounds, but the fact of the matter is that fireworks—from bottle rockets and Roman candles to mortars and artillery shells—are explosives. Even when they fire in the right direction, they can project tiny pieces of shrapnel toward nearby spectators at high speeds.

Even poppers and sparklers aren’t as safe as they seem. Sparklers burn at temperatures over 1200°F! That’s not something we want anywhere near our eyes. A few good rules for sparklers are to always supervise children under age 12 when they use them, don’t run with them, hold them at arm’s length from the body, and only use one at a time.

Eye Injuries Are Too Common

Every year, thousands of Americans are injured by fireworks. In 2014 alone, 1,300 people went to emergency rooms specifically for eye injuries. More significantly, it was the bystanders who suffered the majority of those injuries, not the operators.

All it takes is one spark or fast-moving piece of shrapnel to cause permanent blindness. Don’t let this happen to you or your loved ones!

Safety First!

The safest thing you can do is avoid home fireworks entirely and only go to professional displays, but if you are doing fireworks at home, make sure you follow these safety tips:

  • Carefully follow all safety instructions on the labels of your fireworks.
  • Always use protective eyewear. When shrapnel goes flying, goggles can be the difference between being blinded for life and walking away completely unharmed.
  • Supervise young children at all times. Better still, keep children under age 12 away from all fireworks, even sparklers and firecrackers!

Here’s a few more safety tips for using sparklers to celebrate your Independence Day:

If There Is An Injury…

Sometimes accidents happen even when we follow all the rules. If you or anyone else you know sustains an eye injury this 4th of July, here are some steps to follow:

  • Do not rub, rinse out, or apply pressure or ointment to the injured eye. Any of these will likely do even more damage.
  • Go straight to the emergency room (don’t even pause for pain medication on the way). The sooner the eye receives treatment, the better its chances are for recovery.

Have A Blast (As Long As You’re Safe)!

We want you all to be safe as you celebrate Independence Day, but we also hope you have a great time with family, friends, food, and fireworks.

Wishing all our patients a happy Fourth of July!

Top image by Flickr user Tomasz Stasiuk used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.