Make Fireworks Safety a Top Priority This Fourth of July

The smell of burgers and hot dogs on the grill. Fresh corn on the cob and watermelon. A spirited “discussion” about whether the volleyball went out of bounds.

An extremely wonky bottle rocket veering into a group of kids.

That last one is a Fourth of July tradition we can do without. Which is why the team at Magruder Laser Vision is passionate about promoting fireworks safety. As eye-care professionals, we are all too aware of the threats presented by hot projectiles flying through the air at holiday gatherings.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 280 people go to the emergency room every day during the one-month period surrounding Independence Day.

And despite all the incidents of people losing a digit or suffering burns while lighting fireworks, the people injured by the explosives aren’t necessarily the ones who are setting them off. One study showed that nearly half the people injured by fireworks are bystanders.

Consumer-grade fireworks set off by amateurs are unpredictable. Children and other people trying to enjoy the display are in as much danger as the people lighting fireworks, because there’s just no telling where those things might go.

Bottle rockets are one of the biggest threats. They fly erratically and have the potential to inflict a wide range of eye injuries, including:

  • Eyelid lacerations

  • Corneal abrasions

  • Retinal detachment

  • Optic nerve damage

  • Globe rupture

  • Eye muscle damage

  • Complete blindness

Initial Treatment for a Fireworks Eye Injury

Dr. Michael Shumski says that a fireworks-related eye injury can create a dangerous trifecta of blunt-force trauma, heat burns, and chemical exposure. He says that if you’re at the scene when an eye injury from fireworks occurs, you should be aware that you have a medical emergency on your hands. While seeking immediate medical attention for the victim, ensure she’s aware of these important tips:

  • Do not rub your eyes

  • Do not rinse your eyes

  • Do not apply pressure

  • Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye

  • Do not apply ointments

We know fireworks are fun to look at — and there is a certain thrill that goes along with lighting them. But it IS possible for the holiday to be complete while leaving the rocket’s red glare to professionals.

To learn more about eye care, please check out the extensive library of articles on our blog, including tips for sunny weather and info on combatting digital eye strain.