On Saturday, millions of Americans will celebrate Independence Day with friends and family. For many of them, fireworks will play an integral role in the celebration. While fireworks can be lots of fun, especially for kids, they can also present serious safety concerns that many people aren’t aware of.
In a 2012 report, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found an estimated 8,700 fireworks-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms across the nation. The majority of these were around the Fourth of July, and 12 percent of injuries were to the eyes.
Many of the eye injuries that occur from fireworks use can result in permanent eye damage, even permanent vision loss. Young children should not be allowed to handle fireworks, even sparklers — which burn at about 2,000 degrees and cause half of fireworks-related injuries in children 14 years old and younger.
If an accidental eye injury should occur, the following tips can help save the eyesight of you or someone you love:
- DO NOT rub the eye, as this can increase bleeding or worsen the injury.
- DO NOT apply pressure. Instead, hold or tape a foam cup or other shield to the eye to protect it from contact with other objects (including hands).
- DO NOT use over-the-counter pain relievers or ointments.
- DO go directly to the emergency room to seek medical attention.
The vision experts at Berkeley Eye Center treat a wide range of eye conditions and injuries every day. Call 713-526-1600 to schedule an eye exam or schedule online.