This is the time of year that we love to show our patriotism with fireworks, but fireworks aren’t toys. They can cause ocular injury and even blindness. You may think you are safe if you’re not the one igniting the fireworks, but nearly half of reported fireworks injuries occur in bystanders.
The best way to avoid potentially blinding injuries from bottle rockets, sparklers and other fireworks is to attend a professional public display instead of igniting consumer fireworks yourself.
For those who attend professional fireworks displays or live in communities surrounding public fireworks shows, you should always:
- Respect safety barriers at fireworks shows. View fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
- Avoid touching unexploded display fireworks. Instead, immediately contact local fire or police departments for help.
If you decide to purchase consumer fireworks, follow these safety tips to prevent eye injuries:
- Never let children play with fireworks of any type, even sparklers, which can burn at up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Adults should always wear protective eyewear that meets parameters set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) if handling fireworks and ensure that all bystanders are also wearing eye protection. ANSI-approved protective eyewear can be easily purchased from most hardware stores.
- Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyrotechnicians.
If an eye injury from fireworks occurs, remember:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Do not rub your eyes.
- Do not rinse your eyes.
- Do not apply pressure.
- Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
- Do not take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.