Experts say more than 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented by simply taking a few precautions and wearing safety glasses
An estimated 11,100 fireworks-related injuries (and four non-occupational deaths) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2016, with about 7,600 of them during a one-month study period of June 18 to July 18, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
About 700 of the injuries during that month were eye injuries.
The CPSC’s “2016 Fireworks Annual Report” also included these findings for the one-month period surrounding the 2016 July 4th holiday:
- Males sustained 61 percent of fireworks-related injuries; females accounted for 39 percent.
- An estimated 31 percent of the injuries occurred in children younger than age 15, and 39 percent occurred in kids age 15 to 19.
- The 700 eye injuries were caused mostly by sparklers, bottle rockets and multiple-tube devices. The eye injuries were mostly contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies, but about 200 incidents involved burns as well.
- For children under 5 years old, sparklers accounted for half of the total number of injuries, but novelty and multiple-tube device injuries were also significant.
- The parts of the body most often injured by fireworks were: hands and fingers (33 percent); head, face and ears (28 percent); legs (18 percent); trunk/other (12 percent); eyes (9 percent); and arms (8 percent). About 69 percent of all the injuries were burns.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these safety tips for preventing eye injuries from fireworks:
- Never let children play with fireworks.
- View fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
- Only trained professionals should light fireworks.
Don’t touch any unexploded fireworks remains. Instead, notify the fire or police department.
What to do for a fireworks eye injury
If an eye injury from fireworks occurs, remember:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- 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 or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.