The Fourth of July is a time for national celebration. Unfortunately, it is also a time when firework eye injuries are at an apex.
Statistics predict 2,000 people in the United States will have some sort of eye related injury this Fourth of July. Such eye injuries are not only superficial burns and cuts to the eyelids but could be serious ruptures of the eye, a quarter of which could result in permanent loss of vision and disfigurement.
Firework operators are divided in to professionals (pyrotechnicians) and amateurs. Handling of fireworks is dangerous for both groups. Watch this video on how to stay safe during Independence Day celebrations.
Professional pyrotechnicians are well versed in the operational safety of their displays. They use appropriate eye safety goggles and can set the safety barriers that should keep spectators safe from harm.
Eye Injuries from Fireworks
Amateur firework operators must use extreme caution. Sparklers burn at 1800° Fahrenheit and should not be given to children. The single most dangerous firework type is the explosive bottle rocket. This firework propels itself forcefully and with uncontrolled flight patterns. This projectile injures not only the operators but bystanders that may not even be aware a bottle rocket has been ignited.
Professional or amateur firework operators must use safety precautions. NEVER ALLOW A CHILD TO OPERATE FIREWORKS. Use safety glasses when operating fireworks. Make sure bystanders are aware that fireworks are being ignited and advise them to move to at least 500 feet or up to a quarter of a mile away from the display. If unignited fireworks are found DO NOT HANDLE THEM but summon the fire department or police for safe disposal.
Common Serious Fireworks Eye Injuries
If you have these problems after a firework injury get medical help right away when:
- There is eye pain or vision loss
- There is bleeding
- A cut or torn lid
- The pupil has an unusual shape or size
- One eye does not move as well as the other
- There is foreign material that cannot be freely removed from the lid
DO NOT SELF TREAT SUCH EYE INJURIES. SEE A DOCTOR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (preferably a local eye surgeon).
The celebration of the Fourth of July needs to be safe for us, our families and friends. When handling fireworks we must use good judgement and constant caution. For the best celebration let the professionals put on the fireworks show. Pyrotechnicians are trained in constructing safe and spectacular firework displays.