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Protect Your Eyes on 4th of July

It should come as no surprise that the Fourth of July is considered America’s most dangerous holiday on account of eye injuries; though July 4th presents many risks, not just because of illegal fireworks but because of legal displays as well.

Each year, nearly a thousand people are treated in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries, with 64% of those occurring on July 4th. Burns to the eyes were the most common reason for these ER visits. It should be noted that nearly half of people injured by fireworks are bystanders.

Even benign fireworks can pose a risk, particularly to young children. Half of all eye injuries from fireworks occur in children, with most child injuries caused by sparklers, which can burn at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A quarter of these injuries may result in permanent vision loss.

The best way to avoid eye injuries on the Fourth is to leave fireworks to the professionals. However, you should be sure to respect safety barriers at shows and view fireworks from at least 500 feet away. Also, never touch unexploded fireworks but contact your local fire department for help.

If fireworks are legal in your state and you decide to make a purchase, be sure to observe the following safety tips:

  • Never let young children play with fireworks, including sparklers and bottle rockets; although bottle rockets fly erratically and can often injure bystanders. If using sparklers, keep them at arm’s length and never wave them or run while holding them.
  • Wear protective eyewear, and ensure all bystanders are wearing protective eyewear. Of the millions of eye injuries that occur annually in the U.S., 90% could have been prevented with protective eyewear. Keep in mind that regular glasses or sunglasses can shatter on impact and are no alternative to proper goggles.

Also, do not lean over fireworks when lighting the fuse, never point fireworks at others, or carry them in a pocket, and never relight fireworks that don’t go off.

If an eye injury occurs, seek medical attention immediately. Do not rub your eyes, rinse your eyes, apply pressure or remove objects stuck in the eyes. Also, do not take blood-thinning pain medications like aspirin or ibuprofen.

If you have questions about proper eyewear for handling fireworks, please call our eye care specialists at 877-871-1684.