The Blinding Truth About Fireworks

The numbers are clear: fireworks are dangerous, and the month surrounding July 4th is the most dangerous time. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s most recent annual fireworks injury report  fireworks caused eight deaths and nearly 13,000 injuries in 2017. Two-thirds of the fireworks injuries treated in emergency rooms happened between mid-June and mid-July. The report also found that 14% of fireworks injuries were eye injuries. In the most severe cases, fireworks can rupture the globe of the eye, cause chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions and retinal detachment — all of which can cause permanent eye damage and vision loss.

Here are four fireworks facts you should know:

1. Sparklers are NOT safe for young children. Sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees! Sparklers, which many consider harmless, are responsible for most of the injuries to children age 5 and younger.

2. Bystanders are injured by fireworks as often as fireworks operators. An international study of fireworks-related eye injuries showed that nearly half of the people injured by fireworks are bystanders. Two of the most common culprits of firework related injuries are mortar-type fireworks and bottle rockets, which are thrown before they explode and can strike an innocent bystander.

3. It is not safe to pick up a firework after it has been lit. Even though it looks like a dud, it may not act like one. Injury and serious eye trauma can occur when people mistakenly think that a firework is no longer active or hot. Never touch unexploded fireworks and contact the local fire or police department to properly handle it.

4. The Fourth of July can still be a “blast” without using consumer fireworks. The safest way to view fireworks is to watch a professional show. Here is an article by Bham Now on The Alabama Bicentennial Fireworks Show

If you experience a fireworks injury, we urge you to minimize the damage to the eye by doing the following:

• Seek medical attention immediately.
• Do not rub the eye. Rubbing may make the injury worse.
• Do not attempt to rinse the eye.
• Do not apply pressure to the eye.
• Do not remove objects from the eye,
• Do not apply ointments or take pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen before seeking medical help.

As always, Dr. Kye Mansfield, Dr. Jill Meyer and Dr. Rena Lewis are here to help. If you have questions about potential eye injuries or safety precautions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.