The Fourth of July is a fun holiday, especially with fireworks. Unfortunately, fireworks can cause serious eye injuries. The good news is that eye injuries associated with fireworks can be prevented.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), eye injuries accounted for 15 percent of all injuries from fireworks between June 21, 2019 and July 21, 2019, with emergency departments treating 1,100 patients for eye injuries from fireworks in that month.
The most frequent injuries to eyes were contusions and lacerations. Contusions of the eye occur when blunt force or a foreign body breaks open blood vessels, which then leak blood into the nearby area. The contusions, or bruising, may appear as a black eye or bright red blood in the eye. Contusions to the eye can cause retinal detachment, a serious condition in which light-sensitive lining detaches from its normal position at the back of the eye. A laceration is a cut. Corneal lacerations are cuts to the cornea, which is the transparent tissue that covers the front of the eye. Scleral lacerations are cuts to the whites of the eyes, also known as the sclera. Fireworks can cause other eye injuries, such as chemical and thermal burns to the eye. Trauma of striking the eye with a firework can rupture the eyeball, or globe. Each of these can interfere with vision or even cause blindness which makes them serious eye emergencies that require immediate medical care.
Tips for Improving Eye Safety this July 4th
June is Firework Safety Month, which makes it the perfect time to prepare for a safe Fourth of July. Here are a few tips to keep your family’s eyes safe this Independence Day:
- Never allow young children to play with any type of fireworks, including sparklers. While they may seem safe, sparklers burn at very high temperatures. Furthermore, kids may not fully understand the danger fireworks pose, so they may not behave appropriately around fireworks or during a firework emergency, such as fire or injury. Do not allow running or horseplay. Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision and after training in fireworks safety.
- Set off fireworks outdoors in an area that is away from houses and clear of dry leaves, grass, or other flammable materials. Make sure the area is clear of people and animals before lighting fireworks.
- Have a bucket of water handy in case of emergencies, and for dousing fireworks that fail to ignite or explode.
- Never attempt to handle or relight “dud” fireworks. Instead, soak them with water and throw them away.
- Do not light fireworks in a container, especially one made of glass or metal.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place, away from firing areas where you are lighting fireworks. Check the fireworks packaging or instructions for any special storage directions.
- Never hold any portion of your body, especially your eyes, directly over a firework while lighting.
For more eye safety tips during the Fourth of July or during Eye Safety Month this June, consult with your eye care professional.