Dangerous Times for Vision
The month of June has twice the awareness delegated to it. After covering Cataract Awareness for several weeks, we close out the month with June’s second awareness – Fireworks Eye Safety. With the end of June being so close to the dangerous days for vision and bodily harm it is fitting to have saved this subject for this timeframe.
Consider the many life threatening things that can happen this time of year, for example safety for swimmers, boaters, insect stings, automobile accidents to name a few. The one danger that “lights up the skies” is Fireworks! The color display and lightshows done with fireworks attract many people – even the noise of fireworks is exciting to some. However the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reports 13,000 injuries from fireworks in 2017. Two-thirds of fireworks related injuries treated in emergency rooms have occurred between mid-June and mid-July.
What can we do to prevent life-changing injuries? Awareness of safety and putting awareness into preventive action plans especially while celebrating our nation’s birthday is vital.
- Respect safety barriers, follow all safety instructions and view fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
- Do not touch unexploded fireworks; instead, immediately contact local fire or police departments to help.
The most recent report from the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission tells us that 14% of fireworks injuries were eye injuries. Things that happen to the eyes are: ruptured globe, chemical burns, retinal detachment, corneal abrasions – all have potential to lead to blindness.
What can one do once and eye injury from fireworks occurs? AAO gives the following guidelines as fireworks injury to the eyes is considered a medical emergency
- Seek immediate medical attention
- Don’t rub your eyes
- Don’t rinse your eyes
- Don’t apply pressure to your eyes
- Do Not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye
- Do Not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning medications such as aspirin unless directed by a doctor
The AAO’s website contains a wealth of information – only some of which is used in this blog. The link below will provide a pathway to further safety information. It includes as well links to true personal stories of victims of fireworks injuries.
- Jay: Fireworks Nearly Cost Firefighter His Sight
- Stacy: Woman's Vision Saved After Devastating Fireworks Injury
- Javonte: Firework Blinds Teenager, Severs Hand
- Jameson: Teen Blinded in One Eye by Fireworks
Another good source of information is Kids Health.org from Nemours and the link is provided below. This source contains longer lists of tips for safety regarding fireworks and only several are listed here:
- Never play with Fireworks – sparklers are dangerous as well
- If you buy fireworks only buy legal ones which are labeled. Keep them in cool, dry place.
- Never make your own fireworks
- Keep a bucket of water and hose nearby.
- Don't hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Wear eye protection, and don't carry fireworks in your pocket — the friction could set them off.
You are encouraged to connect to the links provided and be educated on Fireworks Safety Awareness.
All of us at Eye Physicians and Surgeons wish you a happy and safe summer season and use your safety awareness while celebrating Independence Day!