Fireworks Cause Eye Injuries


No Fireworks Are Safe, Even Innocent Sparkler Causes Thousands of Eye Injuries
We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July season, but please be aware of the facts about fireworks. Fireworks injuries cause approximately 10,000 visits to the emergency department each year, most of them involve children who suffer thousands of eye injuries. Although the most disabling injuries occur with illegal firecrackers, most injuries are caused by legal fireworks parents buy for their children, such as sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and Roman candles. Every year thousands of patients need treatments who suffer a range of fireworks-related injuries, from cuts and bruises to damaged corneas and ruptured eyeballs. To help reduce the number of potentially blinding fireworks accidents this holiday, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is working to debunk common myths about fireworks injuries.

Here are five fireworks myths, debunked:

  1. Sparklers are safe for young children. Sparklers burn at 1800 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers were responsible for most of the injuries to children age 5 and younger.
  2. It’s safer to view fireworks than it is to light or throw them. Bystanders are injured by fireworks as often as the operators.
  3.  Consumer fireworks are safe. Sparklers and firecrackers each account for more than 1,400 injuries to the eyes.
  4. It’s safe to pick up a firework after it has been lit. Even though it looks like a dud, it may not act like one.
  5. It’s not the Fourth of July without consumer fireworks. The Fourth can be complete without using consumer fireworks. The safest way to view fireworks is to watch a professional show. 

If you experience a fireworks injury, we urge you to minimize the damage to the eye:

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Do not rub the eye. Rubbing may make the injury worse.
  • Do not attempt to rinse the eye.
  • Do not apply pressure to the eye.
  • Do not remove objects from the eye,
  • Do not apply ointments or take pain medications before seeking medical help.

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