The following is from the Massachusetts Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons.
As the Fourth of July holiday nears, the Massachusetts Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are working together to urge Massachusetts residents to protect themselves and their children from fireworks eye injuries. Of the 9,000 fireworks-related injuries each year, 21 percent impact the eyes and more than half of the victims are young children or teenagers.
Fireworks of all types, including sparklers, are dangerous. Sparklers typically burn at 1,200-degrees Fahrenheit and cause 27 percent of all fireworks injuries, including third-degree burns. Bottle rockets cause some of the most seriouseye injuries. Errant bottle rockets can injure bystanders and cause eye lid lacerations, corneal abrasions, traumatic cataract, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, rupture of the eyeball, eye muscle damage, and complete blindness. One in every six fireworks-related eye injuries results in permanent vision loss or blindness.
For thousands of families across the U.S., Independence Day celebrations have turned to nightmares when theirchildren were hurt or even blinded by fireworks.
- A 6-year-old child lit an M-80 firework that he had found in his home. The explosion resulted in a traumatic injury and he called 911 for help. His eye injuries required an immediate cornea transplant and lens replacement, and he has undergone several additional eye surgeries since the incident.
- A 12-year-old boy did not fully unwrap the fuse of a fountain firework, making the fuse too short and causing it to explode almost immediately after being ignited. The firework blew up in his face, severely injuring the child’s eye.
- After a man lit smoke bombs that created colored smoke, his 4-year-old son leaned in to get a closer look. Tar from the smoke bomb wick shot into the boy’s eye, causing a corneal abrasion.
“Our eyes are one of the most important parts of our bodies – but they are also very fragile,” said Michael H. Goldstein, M.D., president of the Massachusetts Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. “Unfortunately, we see a spike in injured patients this time each year because people forget that fireworks, while fun, are also dangerous. Kids are especially vulnerable to fireworks hazards.”
To prevent an eye injury from ruining Fourth of July celebrations, the American Academy of Ophthalmology urges Americans to follow these tips:
- Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
- View fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
- Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
- Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
- If you find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police departments.
If you experience an eye injury during a fireworks accident, seek immediate medical help from an ophthalmologist, an eye medical doctor. For more fireworks safety tips visit www.geteyesmart.org.