Prevent Eye Injuries from Fireworks Everyone loves fireworks.  Whether you are attending a professional display or handling fireworks on your own, here are some safety tips to protect your eyes and to avoid serious injury.

Eye Injuries on the Rise

Every year thousands of people, including children, suffer injuries from fireworks.  Significant and permanent injury can occur from a ruptured eye (aka ruptured globe), chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions and retinal detachment.

Any of these can cause permanent damage to the eye and vision.

According to a report cited by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 1300 eye injuries caused by fireworks were treated by emergency rooms in the U.S. in 2014.  This is an increase of more than double the 600 reported in 2012.

Protect the Children

Many of those injured by fireworks are not even handling the explosives themselves.  Nearly half of the injuries occur to bystanders, 35% of which are children aged 15 and under.

Most injuries occur from firecrackers, sparklers and bottle rockets.

The heat generated from sparklers is the leading cause of injuries seen in an emergency room.  Depending upon the fuel and oxidizer used, sparkler temperatures can exceed 2000 degrees F causing severe burns or ignite clothing.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association recommend the following advice:

  • Discuss firework safety – especially with your children and teens
  • Kids should not handle fireworks or be unsupervised
  • Wear protective eyewear when lighting/handling any fireworks
  • Store purchased fireworks, matches and lighters away from children
  • Refrain from purchasing sparklers
  • Never let children play with any fireworks, including sparklers
  • Respect safety barriers and view fireworks from at least 500 feet away
  • Do not touch unexploded fireworks

What to Do for a Fireworks Eye Injury

  • Seek medical attention immediately (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 July 4th.  The doctors and staff wish you a happy and safe holiday.  Please respect the New Jersey and Pennsylvania laws with regard to the use of fireworks.

We look forward to seeing you.  Please call us (609.877.2800) for an appointment.

Gregory Scimeca, M.D.
Ophthalmologist and Medical Director

Burlington County Eye Physicians
Eye Professionals, LLC (Millville, NJ)
Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Bucks County (Langhorne, PA)