Florida Eye Health Offers Tips for Fireworks Safety
Each Fourth of July, thousands of people are injured from using consumer fireworks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 9,000 fireworks-related injuries happen each year. Of these, nearly half are head-related injuries, with nearly 30 percent of these injuries to the eyes. One-fourth of fireworks eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness.
The doctors at Florida Eye Health want to remind consumers to leave fireworks to professionals. “Too many Fourth of July celebrations are ruined because a child has to be rushed to the emergency room after a fireworks accident,” said Jonathan M. Frantz, MD, FACS, medical director of Florida Eye Health. “Potentially blinding injuries can be avoided if families attend a professional public fireworks display instead of putting on a home fireworks display.”
Children are the most common victims of firework accidents, with those 15 years old or younger accounting for half of all fireworks eye injuries in the United States. For children under the age of five, seemingly innocent sparklers account for one-third of all fireworks injuries. Sparklers can burn at nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause a third-degree burn.
“Among the most serious injuries are abrupt trauma to the eye from bottle rockets,” according to Dr. Frantz. The rockets fly erratically, often injuring bystanders. Injuries from bottle rockets can include eyelid lacerations, corneal abrasions, traumatic cataract, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, rupture of the eyeball, eye muscle damage and complete blindness.
For a safe and healthy Independence Day celebration, please observe the following tips:
- Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
- View fireworks from a safe distance: at least 500 feet away, or up to a quarter of a mile for best viewing.
- Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
- Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
- Follow directives given by event ushers or public safety personnel.
- If you find unexploded fireworks remains, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police departments.
- If you get an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical help immediately.
For more information about eye care, call the main office of Florida Eye Health at (239) 418-0999.
Dr. Jonathan Frantz and the doctors at Florida Eye Health offer a broad spectrum of patient-focused comprehensive care from eye exams and eyewear to cataract removal, glaucoma care, state of the art iLASIK, hearing services, and eyelid surgery with office locations in Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Punta Gorda, and Lehigh Acres.