The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that fireworks-related eye injuries nearly doubled, from 700 in 2016 to 1,200 in 2017, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
Fireworks caused nearly 13,000 injuries in 2017, compared with 11,000 in 2016.
Ophthalmologists treat thousands of patients for fireworks-related injuries, from cuts and bruises to damaged corneas and retinas to ruptured eyeballs.
Most injuries are caused by legal fireworks parents buy for their children, such as sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles. To help reduce the number of potentially blinding fireworks accidents this holiday, the AAO is sharing these tips for staying safe around fireworks.
- Keep a safe distance: A recent study showed that 65 percent of victims were bystanders. Stacy Young was 100 yards away when an illegal firework sent shrapnel into her skull and her eye had to be removed.
- Don’t pick up duds and misfires: An Ohio firefighter took all the right precautions for his backyard Fourth of July fireworks celebration, but a split-second decision to inspect a “dud” was almost fatal.
- Supervise children closely: Sparklers seem like harmless fun for the kids, but they are responsible for about 1,400 eye injuries each year. Even those tiny poppers or snappers can pose dangers.
- Wear protective eyewear: Stop by any hardware store and pick up some safety glasses for the entire family.
- Celebrate with the pros: The Fourth can be complete without your own private fireworks. The Academy advises that the safest way to view fireworks is to watch a professional show.