Fireworks Eye Safety Tips

by | May 16, 2022

​The official pre-summer kickoff holiday, Memorial Day, is just around the corner. While enjoying your family time and grilling great food, you may also add fireworks to the celebrations to expand on the holiday fun. The thrill of fireworks can be dangerous if no safety measures are in place. Did you know that 65% of all fireworks injuries involve bystanders, and 19% of those injuries are to the eyes? Most Americans still do not wear eye protection when handling fireworks despite the statistics.

Here are some fireworks safety tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to follow to remain safe if your family tradition includes lighting fireworks at home:

  • Observe local laws and use consumer fireworks.
  • Wear protective eyewear. Fireworks-related eye injuries are typically a mix of blunt force trauma, heat burns, and chemical exposure
  • Do not allow young children to play with fireworks. Sparklers, a firework often considered to be the ideal “safe” device for the young, burn at very high temperatures and should not be handled by young children. Children may not understand the danger of fireworks and may not act appropriately while using the devices or in emergencies.
  • Set off fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from houses, dry leaves, grass, and other flammable materials.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode.
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning or “dud” fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Never light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
  • Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Check instructions for particular storage directions.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • If injured, get medical attention immediately. Do not apply any ointments to burns or take any pain medications while waiting for assistance.

Fireworks injure 10,500 people annually. If you experience a fireworks-related eye injury, the following tips will help:

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Avoid rinsing or rubbing the eyes, or apply pressure.
  • Do not remove any object from the eye, apply ointments or take any pain medication BEFORE consulting a medical professional.
  • Safety during fireworks displays can help prevent serious eye injuries. Protecting your eyes as we embark on the fun summer holidays that include fireworks, ensure you see the fantastic fireworks displays for years to come.

At Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute, we honor our troops and their families this Memorial Day!

References: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Optometric Association, International Association of Fire Fighters, and National Fire Protection Association

The content is researched and vetted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. American Optometric Association and Prevent Blindness. This newsletter provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided within this newsletter and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.

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