With warmer weather approaching, events such as family celebrations, picnics and holidays will be occurring. With such celebrations, firework displays are often a part of these events. As magnificent and joyous as these fireworks are, they can also be dangerous. It is estimated that over 12,000 Americans visit the emergency room per year due to firework injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commision reports that about 15% of firework injuries were eye related. There are several precautions that should be taken to ensure the safety of yourself and others that may be around you.  

Fireworks can cause severe damage as well as potentially cause a permanent loss of vision. Some injuries can include, but are not limited to chemical burns, rupture of the eye globe, retinal detachment and corneal abrasions. If an eye injury occurs, you should seek medical attention immediately. Avoid rubbing or applying pressure to your eyes as well as attempting to remove any foreign objects or applying ointments. 

The best way to avoid firework injuries is to leave the work to professionally trained pyrotechnicians. It is much safer to attend an event run by trained individuals. If you do choose to ignite your own fireworks, however, you should follow all state and local laws for your area. It is best to wear protective eye wear. Those watching should also wear eye protection, as nearly half of people who have been injured are bystanders. Children shouldn’t light or play with fireworks or sparklers. When enjoying a firework display, viewers should be approximately 500 feet away. Fireworks should also be launched in an open area that is free from flammable objects including plants, trees and buildings. After the fireworks have been launched, they should be allowed to set and cool for about 20 minutes and then submerged in water. Do not touch unexploded fireworks and keep unused fireworks away from firing areas. 

The purpose of this blog is not to frighten or dishearten you from enjoying fireworks, but rather to offer advice on how to be safe when around them. If you have eye related injuries due to fireworks, immediate medical attention should be sought in order to decrease the risk of damage and to potentially save your vision. If you or someone you know has questions about eye safety when dealing with fireworks, please call 860-233-2020 to speak with an eye care professional today. 

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