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Protect Your Eyes from Fireworks this 4th of July

June 30, 2011

Be aware of the many eye injuries that can be caused by fireworks on 4th of July.


Fourth of July is a fun time for the whole family: Enjoying a delicious backyard BBQ with friends and family, taking a much-needed holiday break from work, honoring our countries independence with celebrations and fireworks.

However, what many people don’t realize is that, for thousands of Americans each year, the fourth of July holiday often ends with an unfortunate trip to the emergency room. Every year, there are nearly 8,500 firework-related injuries in the United States alone, and nearly 2,000 of these injuries are eye-related.

The upcoming fourth of July holiday is one of the busiest days of the entire year for eye surgeons. In fact, in an effort to bring awareness to the large number of eye injuries caused by fireworks every year, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has declared June to be Fireworks Eye Safety Month.

They also released some powerful statistics about firework injuries in the United States:

  • 1/3 of firework eye injuries result in permanent eye damage
  • 1/4 of firework eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness
  • Almost one in 20 victims of firework eye injuries lose all of their vision or require the removal of their injured eye
  • Bottle rockets account for 2/3 of firework-related injuries, and over half of firework-related eye injuries

One of the most shocking statistics released is that 75% of all firework-related eye injuries happen to children under the age of 15. Most of these injuries are often caused by the most seemingly harmless of all fireworks―sparklers.

Many children find themselves fascinated by the beautiful, bright designs and irresistible gold sticks of sparkles. However, these beautiful  fireworks account for three-quarters of all firework injuries in preschoolers.

So, what can you do to help prevent firework-related eye injuries this upcoming fourth of July? Follow OCLI’s FIREWORK safety code for a pleasant, injury-free Independence Day:

Five hundred feet, or a quarter-mile, is the minimum amount of space that you should leave between yourself and fireworks when they are being lit.

If you find unexploded “dud” fireworks, do not touch them or pick them up. Instead, contact your local fire or police department to come remove them.

Respect any safety barriers that have been set up pyrotechnicians around the firework launch site. These barriers help them do their job safely.

Eye injuries from fireworks occur 25% of the time to those who are bystanders, so pay attention to your surroundings and always be aware of where fireworks will be set off from.

Warn children about the many dangers of handling fireworks and take proper precautions against possible child injuries.

Organized events that are put on professionally by your local community are the safest ways to view fireworks, so attend these displays whenever possible.

Regular prescription glasses and sunglasses provide little to no protection to the eyes against firework debris. If you are setting fireworks off, be sure to wear proper protective goggles.

Keep pets inside when fireworks are being lit. The loud noises and explosions caused by fireworks can frighten your pet and cause them to run off into possible danger areas.

By following these simple firework safety tips, you can help to prevent permanent vision impairment and enjoy a fun and safe fourth of July holiday.


Image source: Jupiter Images

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