By Kate Ranta on Jul 3, 2023 @ 10:30 AM
The Fourth of July is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and friends. From throwing a BBQ to enjoying a day off work, there is not much more you could ask for. And we can’t forget about the fireworks!
Fireworks are part of our shared holiday tradition. Whether you are having your own backyard bash or watching the show it is important to be cautious.
A visit to the emergency room sure would put a damper on your Fourth of July festivities. That is why we are taking a closer look at fireworks and eye safety. But not too close a look. Here we go!
How many people are affected by fireworks injuries?
You may be thinking: “There can’t possibly be that many fireworks-related injuries.” According to the National Fire Protection Association, hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. treated an estimated 11,500 people for fireworks-related injuries in 2021.
You might also be surprised to know that 15 percent of fireworks injuries are eye injuries, per an American Academy of Ophthalmology report. The craziest thing is that among those injured were bystanders.
Fireworks by the numbers.
To spread awareness and help prevent fireworks eye injuries, the American Academy of Ophthalmology polled 2,034 adults regarding fireworks. Here are some of their findings:
- 77% planned to watch, and 20% planned to have their own fireworks on the Fourth of July.
- 33% knew someone injured by fireworks or personally had been injured.
- 54% believed it is acceptable for kids ages 5-10 to play with sparklers/fireworks.
- Only 10% wear eye protection when using fireworks.
The typical fireworks eye injuries involve burns, scratches on the cornea, detached retinas, and even ruptured eyeballs! As you can imagine, these are potentially blinding injuries, so eye safety is imperative around fireworks.
Safety precautions to protect your eyes.
Fireworks are a blast when they are used safely (pun intended). To help at your next celebration, here are the safety precautions to keep in mind:
- Wear eye protection.
- Remove your contact lenses. Contacts could make the injury more severe if you sustain an eye injury.
- Keep a water source nearby (such as a water hose or full bucket) in case of a fire.
- Always supervise children around fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and quickly move once it is lit.
- Never hold lit fireworks. Place them on the ground or in a holder.
- Do not attempt to re-light fireworks that did not work. Soak them in water and throw them away.
- As a bystander, stand at least 500 feet away from fireworks when they are being lit.
- Keep pets inside. The loud noises can startle them and cause them to run for safety.
What to do in case of an eye injury.
If you or someone you know gets an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical assistance immediately and keep the following in mind:
- Do not rub the affected eye.
- Do not rinse your eyes.
- Do not apply pressure.
- Do not apply any ointments.
- If there is a piece of debris in your eye, do not remove it. Put a loose bandage over your eye and go straight to the emergency room.
- Do not take any blood-thinning medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
There is no better time to keep your vision health in mind. Now that you know about fireworks and eye safety, you can really have a safe and wonderful time!
For more tips on maintaining healthy vision all year, you can use our free infographic for the best food for eye health.
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