Thousands of people — many of them children — suffer eye injuries from fireworks every year. 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.
Nearly half of those injured by fireworks are bystanders and children are frequent victims as well, with 35 percent of those who sustain injuries being 15 years or younger.
Follow these tips, provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, to stay safe this Fourth of July:
Fireworks Safety Tips:
- Attend a professional public fireworks show rather than attempting fireworks at home.
- Respect safety barriers at fireworks shows and watch fireworks from 500 feet away.
- Do not touch unexploded fireworks. Instead, contact local fire or police for help.
- Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyrotechnicians.
- Never let young children play with fireworks of any kind, even sparklers.
- If handling fireworks, always wear protective eyewear.
What to Do if a Fireworks-Related Eye Injury Occurs:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Do not rub your eyes.
- Do not rinse your eyes.
- Do not apply pressure to your eyes.
- Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
- Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications like aspirin.