Every year, the numbers prove to be true: fireworks are dangerous. While we recognize fireworks are especially festive this time of year, it’s an especially risky time for eye injuries.
The most recent Consumer Product Safety Commission report found that 19% of fireworks injuries were eye injuries. A firework-related injury can cause chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions, and retinal detachment. The most frequent victims are young adults and children.
However, most of the people who experienced injuries weren’t handling the explosives themselves. In fact, 65% of people injured by fireworks were innocent bystanders.
We aren’t trying to put a damper on all the fun. The doctors at VisionFirst want you to enjoy all of the summer celebrations but with caution. So, we’ve put together a few tips to keep you and your family safe and steps to take if you happen to experience an eye injury.
Fireworks Safety Tips
Attending a professional, public fireworks show is the safest way to experience all the fun and “wow” moments without the “ow” moments!
If you are celebrating at home, keep these precautions in mind to have a safe and enjoyable fireworks show.
Here are a few safety precautions to keep in mind:
- Do not allow young children to handle fireworks. Fireworks can be rather unpredictable at times. A delayed launch or misdirection of the wind can put people in harm’s way – quickly.
- Do not allow young children to play with sparklers unattended. Sparklers are not “safe” fireworks. Many people allow children to use sparklers under the misguidance that they are safer; however, sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and were responsible for more than 1,200 in 2019.
- Check for local burn regulations, local laws, and weather conditions before using fireworks.
- Never consume alcoholic beverages before or during setting off fireworks. Alcohol clouds judgment and inhibits awareness.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode.
- Leave the duds alone. Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning or “dud” fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
What to Do for a Fireworks Eye Injury
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, fireworks-related eye injuries can combine blunt force trauma, heat burns, and chemical exposure.
These injuries are considered medical emergencies. Do not wait to make an appointment with a VisionFirst doctor. You should seek medical attention immediately.
Take these immediate steps in the unfortunate event that an eye injury from fireworks occurs.
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Do not rub your eyes.
- Do not rinse your eyes.
- Do not apply pressure.
- Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
- Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen unless directed by a doctor.
An average of 280 people per day goes to the emergency room for fireworks-related injuries. Don’t be another statistic this weekend. Take precautions and stay aware.