Summertime – sunshine, barbecues, fireworks and…eye injuries? With the Fourth of July just around the corner, everyone needs a little reminder of the importance of protecting your vision from fireworks. We hope you enjoy the day, just not at the expense of your eyes.
Fireworks result in eye injuries more often than you may think. In 2013 alone, nearly 11,500 fireworks-related injuries were reported, and 1,200 of these were eye injuries. It’s not just the large-scale fireworks that are to blame. Most of these injuries resulted from firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, and sparklers. The temperature of a sparkler reaches almost 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit- that’s hot enough to melt some metals! Children under twelve years of age should not handle sparklers without close adult supervision.
Here’s some additional safety tips when handling sparklers:
- Wear safety glasses
- Light one sparkler at a time
- Hold it an arm’s length away from the body
- Never wave sparklers or run while holding them
When it comes to fireworks, there’s no safe way for non-professionals to use them. Fireworks can cause thermal burns to the eye, bleeding, retinal detachment, and even a ruptured globe or possibly blindness.
To ensure safety, follow these recommendations:
- Do not let children play with fireworks
- Do not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type
- Stay at least 500 feet away from fireworks
- Only trained professionals should light fireworks
- If you find unexploded fireworks, call the fire or police department to dispose of them
- Do not touch them or try to light them
Hopefully these tips will protect your eyes from fireworks this summer, but accidents can happen. If you receive an eye injury, seek help immediately and call your local emergency room. Do not rub, rinse, put any pressure or put ointments on the eyes. Additionally, do not take any blood thinning pain medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Protect the longevity of your eyes by actively working to prevent injuries and stay safe this summer season!