Let freedom ring: The USA turns 243 this year. You’re hopefully gearing up for an exciting holiday weekend full of picnics, barbecues – and, of course, spectacular fireworks shows. We know, we know – practicing good eye care may be the last thing on your mind this weekend. However, fireworks eye injuries are a serious concern this time of year. Avoiding fireworks eye injuries will help you celebrate the holiday safely and ensure you’re able to enjoy many holidays to come.
Fireworks Eye Injuries
Are Fireworks Eye Injuries Really That Common?
Short answer: yes. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that an estimated 12,900 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2017. Unsurprisingly, about 8,700 of those occurred from June 16 to July 16 – also known as peak firework season. About 1,200 of the injuries during that month were eye injuries. According to the report, about 36 percent of the injuries occurred in children younger than age 15. Young men are also more prone to these accidents, sustaining about 70 percent of fireworks-related injuries.
How to Protect Your Eyes
Don’t let eye injuries put a damper on your celebration. You can still enjoy the holiday with a few safety precautions:
- Reconsider the sparklers and bottle rockets: The most common fireworks eye injury culprit might be surprising. The same U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report suggests that sparklers, bottle rockets, and other small fireworks caused the vast majority of fireworks eye injuries. From lacerations to severe burns, these seemingly innocuous fireworks can have serious consequences. They’re especially dangerous for kids under five, who might see the fireworks as a harmless plaything. In reality, sparklers can reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees — about as hot as a blowtorch.
- Avoid unexploded fireworks: Upon first glance, an unexploded or “dud” firework might not seem like a hazard. In reality, these fireworks can cause serious injury or eye trauma through delayed explosion. Make sure to leave unexploded fireworks to the professionals at your local fire or police department.
- Leave the shows to the professionals: Consumer-grade fireworks are legal in most states. However, they are extremely dangerous, more often than not leading to some kind of injury. This year, consider saving money on your own fireworks by attending a professional fireworks show. Make sure to view large displays from at least 500 feet away to avoid burns or other injuries from debris.
How to Treat Eye Injuries
If you or a loved one experiences a firework-related eye injury, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Call 911 or visit a nearby emergency room immediately after the incident occurs. You should also avoid rubbing or rinsing the eyes or applying pressure of any kind. Finally, if a foreign body has entered the eye, don’t remove it, apply ointments, or take any pain medication without first consulting a professional.
Celebrate the holiday safely this year. Fireworks eye injuries are extremely common, but with a few safety precautions, you don’t need to worry about injuries disrupting your celebration.
Looking for a new eye doctor? If you live in southwest Missouri, contact Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an email to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you!