As stores begin to start selling fireworks in preparation for the Fourth of July, it’s crucial to remember that while fireworks can be fun and festive, they are also dangerous and can cause serious injuries, especially to the eyes. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 19% of injuries from mishandled fireworks happen to the eyes. If you’re going to be celebrating Independence Day with fireworks next month, here is what you need to know to protect your eyes and stay safe.
Ways to Prevent Eye Injuries From Fireworks
Shrapnel from a mishandled firework can cause injuries to your corneas and retinas. Luckily, these injuries are easily preventable if you follow these safety tips:
- Wear safety glasses when launching fireworks. A pair of polycarbonate safety glasses can prevent most eye injuries. These types of glasses can be purchased at your local hardware stores.
- Stand far away from lit fireworks. When a firework explodes, shrapnel can fly over 100 yards away from the point of origin. Maintaining a safe distance from a firework will reduce any chance of injury.
- Don’t pick up duds. Duds can still explode if picked up and mishandled. Douse any duds in water before picking them up, and dispose of them in a fireproof container.
- Have an adult supervise children. Sparklers, firecrackers, and Roman candles can all cause eye injuries if mishandled. Parents or other responsible adults should supervise their children while they play with these in order to prevent any injuries.
- Never launch fireworks in metal or glass containers. Fragile containers will shatter from the firework explosion, creating even more dangerous shrapnel.
What to do if You Experience an Eye Injury
Accidents can still happen despite actions to prevent them. If you or a loved one experience an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention from your local Emergency Room. While you seek medical attention:
- Do not remove objects from the eye.
- Do not apply pressure or rub the eye.
- Do not attempt to rinse the eye.
- Do not apply ointments or take pain medications.
All of these actions can lead to further injuries when not done by a medical professional. Your local ER should be prepared to handle any injuries caused by fireworks. Head to the ER as quickly as possible to receive proper medical care for any injuries.
For further information on firework safety, please watch and share this short PSA by the American Academy of Ophthalmology about the dangers of fireworks, or visit their website at aao.org. If you have experienced a firework-related eye injury in the past and need further medical assistance or are experiencing any other ongoing issues with your vision, you can schedule an appointment with any of our doctors online.