Keep Eye Safety First this Fourth of July

It’s the height of summer and it’s almost time to celebrate the Fourth of July. It’s hard not to enjoy a holiday that involves watching a parade, grilling on the patio and being outside. Most people would agree that the best part of the day doesn’t even occur until the sun goes down. Yes, there’s nothing more enjoyable than watching evening fireworks.

Does it ever seem strange that we celebrate the independence of our country by launching dangerous explosives into the night sky? This time-honored tradition that reminds us of the “rockets’ red glare” and “bombs bursting in air” can become true-to-life if we are not careful. Unfortunately, Fourth of July accidents have come to be expected in our holiday celebrations. Approximately 6,300 firework-related injuries occur each year between June 18 and July 18, and over 20 percent of these are eye injuries (Source: Friends for Sight).

From corneal lacerations to burns and retinal detachments, your nearest ER has seen every type of eye injury from fireworks. Most accidents have a common thread: proper safety precautions were not observed. The following guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology would prevent most Fourth of July accidents from happening,  but they are often ignored:

  • Never let children play with fireworks.
  • View fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
  • Only trained professionals should light fireworks.
  • Don’t touch any unexploded fireworks remains. Instead, notify the fire or police department.

Just as important as it is to protect yourself from injury from fireworks, it is also essential to know what to do if you or a loved one sustains an eye injury from fireworks. Remember these guidelines as you are in transit to get medical attention.

  1. Do not attempt to rinse out the eye.
  2. Do not apply pressure to the eye itself.
  3. Do not stop for medicine.
  4. Do not apply ointment.