Firework Eye Safety

The stats are very clear: fireworks if used improperly are unsafe and July 4 is a particularly dangerous time for eye injuries. In the U.S., according to the most recent annual fireworks injury survey by the Consumer Product Protection Commission fireworks resulted in five deaths and 9,100 injuries in 2018. Between mid-June and mid-July, nearly two-thirds of the injuries treated in the emergency room are fireworks related injuries.

Fireworks during the Fourth of July can be marketed as toys. Maybe you think you know how to safely treat them. But playing with fireworks can make you or your loved ones blind, so leave the professionals to set off the fireworks. Eye safety, which follows the requirements set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), should be worn by both professionals and bystanders when watching fireworks.

Facts About Eye Injuries

The most recent Consumer Product Safety Commission study showed that eye injuries accounted for 19 percent of fireworks injuries. Fireworks can rupture the eye globe, cause chemical and thermal burns, cause corneal abrasions, and cause retinal detachment in the most serious of cases. All of these can cause irreversible damage to the eye and permanent loss of vision.

The frequent victims are children and young adults. According to the commission’s findings, children aged 15 and under accounted for 36 percent of the overall injuries. And people aged 20 or younger accounted for half of the injuries needed for an emergency room visit.

Also, sparklers, as they burn at more than 2,000 degrees Farenheit, can be harmful. In the latest report, Sparklers were liable for 1,200 of the injuries, and a sparkler mishap caused one of the fireworks deaths recorded in 2017.

The individuals wounded by fireworks do not usually handle the explosives themselves. In fact, according to another report, 65 percent of individuals injured by fireworks were bystanders. Kids and individuals who cannot light fireworks themselves are in as much danger as individuals who actually light fireworks.

What to Do for a Fireworks Eye Injury

Eye injuries associated with fireworks can combine blunt force trauma, heat burns and chemical exposure. It should be deemed a medical emergency if an eye injury from fireworks occurs.

  • Immediately seek medical attention.
  • Please do not rub your eyes.
  • Immediately rinse your eyes.
  • Do not apply pressure to the eye.
  • Do not remove any items that are in the eye that are trapped.
  • Unless instructed by a Doctor, do not use ointments or take any blood-thinning pain killers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

Firework Eye Safety Tips

Instead of buying fireworks for home use, the safest way to prevent a potentially blinding firework accident is by watching a professional, public fireworks display.

Also, if you attend a professional firework show or live near it:

  • Respect safety barriers, follow all safety guidelines and stay at least 500 feet away from the display fireworks.
  • Do not touch unexploded fireworks; instead, call local fire departments or police departments immediately to help.

Firework Eye Safety Tips Cont.

Next, follow these safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission for those who plan to buy and use consumer fireworks in states where they are legal:

  • Don’t let little kids play with fireworks. Sparklers, a firework often considered by many to be the perfect “safe” device for young people, burn at very high temperatures and young children should not be handling them. Children do not recognize the danger of fireworks and may not behave properly when using equipment or in the event of an emergency.
  • Only under close adult supervision should older kids be allowed to use fireworks.
  • Do not allow any horseplay or running.
  • In a clear place, set off fireworks outside, away from homes, dry leaves, or grass and other flammable materials.
  • For emergencies and to pour on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode, keep a bucket of water nearby.
  • Do not seek to mend or cope with malfunctioning or “dud” fireworks. Soak them and throw them away with water.
  • Before lighting fireworks, be sure other individuals are at a safe place.
  • Never light fireworks in a container, especially a container made of glass or metal.
  • Keep unused fireworks away from places where shooting happens.
  • Store your fireworks in a dry, cool place.
  • Check the special storage directions for instructions.
  • Be observant of local rules.
  • During ignition, never have any portion of your body directly over a firework.
  • Do not use homemade fireworks to experiment.

Firework Eye Safety Conclusion

After all, the 4th of July is supposed to be a fun time to enjoy our Independence. I hope this article helps keep your eyes safe during the celebration. Please, leave a comment below if you found this article helpful.

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Dr. Thirion

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