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Time To Celebrate: Vision Safety Tips for 4th of July Fun

June 26, 2012

Be sure to follow these vision safety tips for a safe 4th of July.

Fourth of July is only a little more than a week away, meaning it’s nearly time to start gathering up your friends and family for the time-honored tradition of Independence Day celebrations.

Whether you are planning to show your American pride by heading out to watch a local parade, you’re throwing a backyard barbeque complete with hot dogs and burgers, or you will be gathering under the stars late at night to watch red, white and blue fireworks rain down from above, one thing is for sure―there is no shortage of fun activities for celebrating the fourth.

Unfortunately, in addition to breathtaking sights and sounds, the celebration of 4th of July has proven to be quite dangerous over the years to people’s eyesight.  Firework displays can lead to another annual tradition of Independence Day―a trip to the emergency room.

Firework Dangers

Each Fourth of July, approximately 6,400 Americans are treated for firework-related injuries, and almost 1,600 of those cases include injuries to the eyes.  That’s a lot of people who if they had only protected their eyes a bit more would never have had that experience.  So, while you’re getting caught up in the excitement and anticipation of the holiday, it’s important to remember that fireworks are still dangerous explosives.

Eye injuries that occur from fireworks can include abrasions, cuts, burns, optic nerve damage, retinal detachment, rupture of the eyeball, and even blindness.  Unfortunately, one-third of these eye injuries result in permanent damage, and one-fourth of these eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness. Also, almost one in twenty victims requires the removal of the injured eye.  Ouch!

However, firework safety is not just important for those who will be putting on the display next week. Nearly 25% of all injuries caused by consumer fireworks actually happen to bystanders. Therefore, it is always important to keep your eyes open to your surroundings and make sure that you view public firework displays from at least 500 feet away.  Also be sure to respect any safety barriers that are set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their job safely.  Nobody wants you to have to go to the hospital, so why make that job easier for them?  Rather, just be safe and follow our easy-to-remember code for firework safety.

The Sparkler Code

Big expensive firework displays are not the only things to be wary of this Fourth of July. One of the most dangerous types of firework is actually the sparkler, since they are often used by children and young adults. and are handled at such close distances.

To ensure that both kids and adults alike keep safe while enjoying the gorgeous sites of fireworks and sparklers, be sure to follow OCLI’s SPARKLER code for vision safety on this fantastic Independence Day:

Shield your eyes with protective eyewear when lighting fireworks.

Plunge sparkers into a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out.

Attend professional, large firework displays whenever possible.

Read the directions on each and every box of fireworks or sparklers and follow them carefully.

Keep all unused fireworks in a safe place, away from children, until you need them.

Leave fireworks that fail to go off. You should never return to a lit firework.

Ensure that you are stood a safe distance away when fireworks are being lit.

Remove all dangerous or flammable objects from your firework display area.

If a firework-related eye injury does occur, always follow up with a full eye exam. Here at OCLI, we will help to ensure that the injury heals correctly and will continue to monitor for future vision problems.

So make sure to stay safe this 4th of July weekend!  Have a great time, but always remember that safety really does come first, which is especially the case when your eyes are at risk.  You can also check out our other ideas on how to stay safe during 4th of July weekend and be sure to check our blog for common methods to keep your eyes in tip top shape.  We can give you tips on everything from eye safety when putting on makeup to eye safety when dealing with UV rays from the sun.  Our goal is to keep your eyes healthy, so make sure you keep up to date with your research on our blog and be sure to schedule appointments with your eye doctors to stay


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