Happy 4th July | Avoiding Eye Injuries

Fireworks Cause Significant Eye Injuries | Randall Wong MD | Retina Specialist

Happy 4th July | Avoiding Eye Injuries

Fireworks Cause Significant Eye Injuries | Randall Wong MD | Retina Specialist4th of July means BBQs and fireworks.  It can be a fun holiday, but for thousands this year, bodily injury and eye injury will occur.

Injuries occur to both bystanders and the handlers of the celebratory explosives.   Unfortunately, fireworks are marketed as toys – implying safety, but as you read, fireworks can cause serious bodily injury and eye injury.

Here are some tips to avoid eye injuries from fireworks – for both you and your children.

Eye Injuries … Exploding

Significant and permanent damage can occur from a ruptured globe (ruptured eye), retinal detachment, chemical and thermal burns and corneal abrasions.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that nearly 1300 eye injuries caused by fireworks occurred in 2014 as reported by emergency rooms.  There were barely 600 cases reported in 2012.

Spectators and Children Injured

Nearly half the injuries are sustained by spectators.  Of that, 35% are children under the age of 15.

Most eye injuries are caused by bottle rockets, firecrackers and sparklers.  The heat generated by sparklers can exceed 3000 F depending upon the fuel and oxidizer used which can cause significant burns and even ignite clothing.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommend:

  • Discuss firework safety with your children and teens
  • Children should not be unsupervised around fireworks
  • Wear protective eyewear when handling any fireworks
  • Fireworks, matches and lighters should be stored securely away from children
  • Sparklers are dangerous – refrain from purchasing
  • View fireworks from at least 500 feet away, respect barriers
  • Report unexploded fireworks to professionals, do not touch

What to Do for a Fireworks Eye Injury

  • Call 911 or go to Emergency Room
  • Do not rub eyes or apply pressure
  • Do not rinse eyes
  • Do not remove any objects stuck in the eye

Happy fourth of July!  Celebrate responsibly and enjoy the holiday.  I wish you and your family a very safe holiday.

All the best,


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