Fireworks Eye Safety
Family gatherings, picnics and many community celebration events are returning to pre-Covid normal. That doesn’t mean that families won’t bring the fireworks celebrations closer to home releasing fireworks in their own backyards. Fireworks can easily be found everywhere this time of the year and many are advertised like toys. Each year, thousands of people are injured by fireworks in June and July and almost half of those injured are children and teenagers.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the most recent Consumer Product Safety Commission report found that 15% of fireworks injuries were eye injuries. In the most severe cases, fireworks can rupture the globe of the eye, cause chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions, and retinal detachment — all of which can cause permanent eye damage and vision loss.
Children and young adults are frequent victims. Children age 15 and under accounted for 36% of the total injuries, according to the commission’s report. And half of the injuries requiring an emergency room visit were to people age 20 or younger.
Even sparklers can be dangerous, as they burn at more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Sparklers were responsible for 1,200 of the injuries in the latest report, and a sparkler mishap caused one of the fireworks deaths reported in 2017.
There are certain precautions you can take to prevent eye injury or at least decrease the risk. Even when using sparklers, make sure that your kids are supervised. Children should keep the sparklers at arm’s length and never swing them around or run with them. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. For children under 5 years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries. As an alternative particularly for younger children, consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers, or colored streamers?
Fireworks can cause devastating and life-changing injuries. Simple ways to protect yourself and your children include staying at least 500 feet away from fireworks, allowing trained professionals to light fireworks, and not allowing children to handle any fireworks. Everyone who lights a firework should wear gloves and safety goggles. Work gloves protect the hands, where 28% of firework injuries occur.
If a firework doesn’t go off right away, don’t relight it. Don’t touch it or stand over it, either. Just leave it until it’s time to dispose of the shells. If you find unexploded fireworks, call your police or fire department to dispose of them. Do not touch them or try to light them.
If you suffer an injury due to fireworks, especially to your eyes, seek help immediately.
- Do not rub the eyes
- Do not rinse the eyes
- Do not apply pressure
- Do not put on ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medication
If you have any questions or need information on eye injury following an accident, call Bissell Eye Care at (724) 444-6767 or 724-226-0444.
Remember 4th of July is about enjoying our freedom. Be sure to thank a Veteran for their sacrifice and service. Wishing you and your family a happy and safe summer.
About Bissell Eye Care: John D. Bissell, OD owns and operates Bissell Eye Care servicing Northern Pittsburgh and Alle-Kiski Valley regions. With two locations to treat patients, we offer evening and Saturday appointments. Bissell Eye Care provides comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family beginning as early as 6 months, ocular disease detection and treatment, eyeglasses, sunglasses, activewear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. We accept most types of vision and health insurance plans. For more information, visit bisselleyecare.com or call our Bakerstown Office at 724-443-6767 or Natrona Heights office at 724-226-0444.