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July 4th Eye Safety

June 30, 2009

Thousands of accidents each year tell us that fireworks are dangerous. Over 9300 fireworks-related injuries occur each year, resulting in nearly 2000 eye injuries.In an effort to reduce these preventable injuries, through its EyeSmart campaign, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is encouraging families to attend local public fireworks displays instead of using fireworks at home this Fourth. This recommendation is made as part of Fireworks Eye Safety Month. Attending a professional public fireworks display is a safe way to honor our nation.


People do not recognize how dangerous fireworks can be when in inexperienced hand.  As many as 400 Americans lose vision in one or both eyes due to fireworks injuries. The risk of losing an eye is not worth the excitement of setting off fireworks.

For a safe and healthy Independence Day celebration, the Academy urges observance of the following tips:

  • Never let children play with fireworks of any type.

  • View fireworks from a safe distance: at least 500 feet away, or up to a quarter of a mile for best viewing.

  • Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.

  • Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.

  • Follow directives given by event ushers or public safety personnel.

  • If you find unexploded fireworks remains, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police departments.
  • If you get an eye injury from a firework, seek medical help immediately.

Although illegal fireworks, bottle rockets and Roman candles account for the majority of injuries, seemingly harmless sparklers also cause numerous injuries each year. Sparklers account for the most injuries to children under the age of five. Fascinated by the bright sparks, children find these sticks of fire – burning as hot as 1,800 degrees, hot enough to melt gold – irresistible to touch.


The safest and most spectacular way to view fireworks is to attend a professionally produced, community sponsored display. Remember to always celebrate safely! Have a Happy and Healthy July 4th from all of us at OCLI.

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