The Fourth of July is fast approaching and most of us look forward all year to family celebrations, backyard barbecues, and of course, fireworks. This year, however, concerns of COVID-19 have led to the cancellation of many public fireworks shows. As a result, there is likely to be an increase of at home fireworks displays — and an increase in fireworks-related injuries.
As fun and beautiful as fireworks are, they can also be extremely dangerous. According to recent data from the U.S. CPSC, injuries from fireworks cause approximately 9,100 visits to the emergency room each year, with 15% of those injuries being eye related. These injuries largely occur in the weeks near the Fourth of July.
One CPSC study showed that 65% of people injured by fireworks are bystanders. Two of the most common causes of fireworks-related injuries are from mortar-type fireworks and bottle rockets, which are thrown before they explode and can strike an innocent bystander. As a precaution, both fireworks handlers and bystanders should wear protective eye wear that confirms in product descriptions that it meets the standards set by the American National Standards Institute. Also, when viewing a professional fireworks display, watch from at least 500 feet away and respect all safety barriers.
Unexpected injuries not only ruin celebrations, but they can also dramatically change lives. Should you or someone you are with sustain a fireworks related eye injury some key things to remember are:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Avoid rubbing or rinsing the eyes or applying pressure.
- Do not remove any object from the eye, apply ointments or take any pain medication before consulting a trained medical professional.
- Safety during fireworks displays can help prevent serious eye injuries, such as burns of the eye and open globe injuries, which may lead to loss of vision. Protecting your eyes this Fourth of July can ensure you see the remarkable fireworks from public displays for years to come.
Should you gather for Fourth of July celebrations, please remember to follow guidelines on COVID-19 protection, including social distancing and wearing masks. Keep fireworks fun by remembering these tips and being smart about how you use them. Stay safe out there!
Happy Fourth of July from the Eye Care Associates family to yours!