Few things remind us of the Fourth of July quite so much as the sight, sound, and smell of fireworks. These colorful rockets can lend a real spark to your holiday experience if you observe proper safety precautions. Unfortunately, many people fail to do so, causing accidents that may require emergency eye care.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 10,500 people were injured in fireworks accidents in 2014. Of those accidents, 2000 injured the eyes of the victims: nearly 20% of all fireworks-related injuries.
Many of these injuries were sustained when the victims got too close to a firework, or committed some operational error- leaning over a firework while trying to light it, for example, or failing to point the firework away from themselves while they lit it.
The most dangerous firework of 2014, however, was not roman candles, bottle rockets, or M-80s, but the humble sparkler. Sparklers are frequently given to young children who may try running with them in hand, and whose motor skills are less fully developed than adults. It's easy for children to accidentally stick themselves or a friend in the eye with a sparkler. While it may look harmless, a sparkler is basically a sharp stick that's on fire on one end, and burns at temperatures of up to 2000 degrees!
To reduce the risk of a potentially blinding firework injury, practice the following safety tips:
- Do not allow young children to play with fireworks
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, as they could pose a fire risk
- Always have a responsible adult in charge of all fireworks
- Do not place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse
- Do not try to re-light or pick up a firework that does not fully ignite
- Do not point or throw fireworks at people
- Keep a hose or bucket of water handy in case of a fire. After a firework has burned out, douse it with water.
If anyone sustains an eye injury from fireworks, contact a Hudson Valley-area ophthalmologist immediately. Most eye doctors have emergency line, and will be able to advise you on what to do. In the event of a serious injury, you will probably need to go to the emergency room.
Do NOT try to remove foreign objects from the eye; you will only end up damaging it more. Find something to cover the eye for protection, like a paper cup.
To learn more about eye emergencies and how they should be treated, contact the ophthalmologists at Seeta Eye Care Centers by calling 845-454-1025 today. We serve patients in Fishkill, Carmel, Poughkeepsie, and throughout the Hudson Valley.