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Fourth of July Eye Safety

Care for your eyes this 4th of July! 

With 4th of July fireworks right around the corner, its more important than ever to think of eye safety for yourself, and your loved ones. 

During Fourth of July celebrations, we tend to forget that we are lighting potentially dangerous explosive devices. In fact, thousands of people are sent to the emergency room each year due to injuries caused by fireworks. 

Unfortunately, Fourth of July accidents have come to be expected in our holiday celebrations. Approximately 6,300 firework-related injuries occur each year between June 18 and July 18, and over 30 percent of these are eye injuries.

From corneal lacerations to burns and retinal detachments, your nearest ER has seen every type of eye injury from fireworks. Most accidents have a common thread: proper safety precautions were not observed. 

Please protect and preserve your vision by following some important safety tips provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

1. Never let children play with fireworks.

2. View fireworks from at least 500 feet away.

3. Only trained professionals should light fireworks.

4. Don’t touch any unexploded fireworks remains. Instead, notify the fire or police department.


Children and Sparklers

Children under 12 should not use sparklers without close adult supervision. 

Children under 12 should not use sparklers without close adult supervision. 

Most of us have fond childhood memories of running around while waving a sparkler in the air. While we may consider this is a safe activity, many children are burned by these seemingly harmless devices each year. The tip of a sparkler burns hotter than 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns. Children under 12 should not use sparklers without close adult supervision. 

To reduce the risk of injury, teach children these three basic rules: 

1. Light one sparkler at a time.

2. Hold it arm’s length from the body.

3. Never wave sparklers or run while holding them.


Always Wear Protective Eyewear During Non-professional Fireworks Displays

Since fireworks can shoot off incorrectly and unexpectedly, take the following precautions when using them.

1. Always have adult supervision.

2. Always wear protective eyewear. Even spectators, including children, should don protective eyewear during non-professional fireworks displays.

3. Only light fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby.

4. Never throw or point fireworks at someone, not even in jest.

5. Never relight a dud firework.

6. Light only one firework at a time.

7. Don’t allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event since some may still be ignited and could explode at any time.


In Case of Injury Follow These Guidelines

Just as important as it is to protect yourself from injury from fireworks, it is also essential to know what to do if you or a loved one sustains an eye injury from fireworks. Remember these guidelines as you are in transit to get medical attention.

1. Do not rub the eye.

2. Do not attempt to rinse out the eye.

3. Do not apply pressure to the eye itself.

4. Do not stop for medicine.

5. Do not apply ointment.

While fireworks and eye injuries seem to go hand in hand, you can greatly reduce the risk when you stay aware of the potential for injury, and take proper safely precautions.

We wish you a safe and fun Fourth of July!

Laura Branstetter