Summertime fun and celebrating with friends and family is how many of us spend our Fourth of July.  That time is quickly approaching and many people will begin to purchase fireworks in order to celebrate. Most will never think about the potential safety concerns when it comes to their eyes. Eye injuries from fireworks are more common than you think. 

“According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least four fireworks-related deaths were reported in 2016. An estimated 11,100 injuries due to fireworks were treated in hospital emergency rooms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say. Of those, most injuries were from firecrackers, but sparklers and bottle rockets also were to blame. About one third of the injuries were to children 15 years of age and under.  An estimated 9 percent of the injuries were to the eyes-including contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies. Most injuries, about 33 percent, were to hands and fingers.”

The most common mistakes that may lead to eye injuries include…

  • Not considering the dangers of small fireworks (i.e. sparklers, firecrackers, poppers, etc.).
  • Handling fireworks that appear to be “duds” haphazardly.
  • Assuming you are safe just because you are not the one lighting or handling the firework.

To help prevent injuries, these steps can be taken…

  • USE COMMON SENSE
  • Discuss fireworks safety with children and teens prior to the Fourth of July holiday.
  • Do not allow kids to handle fireworks, and never leave them unsupervised near fireworks.
  • Wear protective eyewear when lighting and handling fireworks of any kind.
  • Store fireworks, matches and lighters in a secure place where children won’t find them.
  • Refrain from purchasing sparklers. Heating up to 2,000 degrees or hotter, sparklers are the No. 1 cause of firework injuries requiring trips to the emergency room.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and only light fireworks when family, friends and children are at a safe distance – at least 500 ft. away.

If you experience a firework related injury…

  • DO: seek medical help immediately
  • DON’T: rub, rinse, or apply pressure to the eyes.
  • DON’T: attempt to remove any object in the eyes, take pain meds, or apply ointments before getting medical help.

By avoiding these mistakes and taking preventative measures, you and your family can have a safe and fun Fourth of July!

References:  American Optometric Association: https://www.aoa.org/news/clinical-eye-care/fourth-of-july, American Academy of Ophthalmology