It’s almost the 4th of July when parties, firework shows and get-togethers will be happening almost daily. Every year, children and adults alike become blind because of fireworks. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that fireworks cause chemical and burn injuries to the eyes, corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, vision loss and more. Avoid all of those problems and enjoy your fireworks with these simple tips!
Fireworks are such a major part of the Independence Day celebration that 90% of all fireworks revenue is made around this July holiday. Many people don’t realize that beautiful fireworks can be incredibly damaging to the eyes, especially if any of the fireworks materials come in physical contact with your eye tissue.
That’s one of the reasons why emergency rooms see more than 10,000 people each year due to fireworks injuries. Most of those injuries are injuries that happen to the eyes and studies show that the most common culprits come from sparklers, bottle rockets, Roman candles and firecrackers. In fact, 28% of all fireworks injuries come from sparklers, and these are the fireworks that most parents think are the safest for their children (when they are not).
19% of all fireworks injuries happen to the eye. More than 1/3rd of people seen for fireworks injuries in the emergency room are under 15 years of age. 9% are younger than 5 years old, as reported by the National Fire Protection Association. Yes, injuries from fireworks do happen. However, fireworks can be really fun and they can be safe if you follow proper fireworks safety.
Because of the brightness of fireworks, they can actually damage a person’s vision if they are viewed at a very close distance. This is the same with other bright lights—such as the sun—because you get so much energy hitting the eyes at such a short wavelength. The most common injuries to the eyes with fireworks each year are cuts and bruises to the eyes, damaged corneas and ruptured eyeballs. None of those sound like injuries you or your children want to have!
To practice proper fireworks safety this year, try these tips:
You may not think about fireworks safety or eye injuries until the point where you or a child has an eye injury and you don’t know what to do. The best course of action is to immediately seek medical attention for any eye injury involving a substance that can burn or has any chemicals. Don’t wait and see if the eye will get better, especially if any material got into one or both eyes. You also don’t want to assume that the injury is not that serious, as this is what often leads to vision loss or blindness.
Don’t try to take out foreign objects from your eyes unless it is a physical ember burning the eye and it’s large enough to safely take out. In many cases, it’s safest to get to the closest emergency medical center and have a trained professional remove the foreign object. Never remove sharp objects on your own. When it comes to fireworks, pieces that get caught in the eyes may likely be burning. You can try to wash out the burning embers as a way to remove them from the eye. Do not stick fingers, tweezers or other objects in the eye in order to remove the original object, as this could cause further injury.
If an eye injury has occurred, do not in any circumstances rub your eyes. Do not allow a child to rub their eye or they could cut or burn more of the eye. If you need to, tape a cup or cloth over the affected eye on your way to a medical center and stay with the injured person. Don’t stop any where to buy medicine and don’t wait to get professional, medical help.
Want to keep your eyes healthy? Take care of your eyes around holidays like the 4th of July when eye injuries are so common. Fireworks can be a very fun pastime for families and friends, but they can also bring lifelong vision problems if you’re not careful. Always wear safety goggles when viewing fireworks up close. Never allow children to be close to fireworks without clothing that covers skin and glasses or goggles that protect the eyes. Follow proper eye safety protocol to avoid eye injuries this coming holiday so you can truly enjoy your summer and the 4th! For any questions you may have about your eye health or eye injuries, call Peeper’s Optical at (303) 333-2800!