Leave Fireworks to the Professionals this Fourth of July

Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology Offers Tips for Fireworks Safety

Jun 13, 2013, 18:32 ET from Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology

OKLAHOMA CITY, June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Each Fourth of July, thousands of people are injured from using consumer fireworks. One-fourth of fireworks eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

June is Fireworks Eye Safety Awareness Month, and the Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology (OAO) wants to remind consumers to leave fireworks to professionals. "Too many Fourth of July celebrations are ruined because a child has to be rushed to the emergency room after a fireworks accident," said Diana Hampton, MD, OAO President.

Children are the most common victims of fireworks accidents, with those 15 years old or younger accounting for half of all fireworks eye injuries in the United States. For children under the age of five, seemingly innocent sparklers account for one-third of all fireworks injuries. Sparklers can burn at nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause a third-degree burn.

Evan Allan, MD, an ophthalmology resident at Dean McGee Eye Institute said, "in the past two years, I have seen several children and teenagers who have had hand-held sparkler and explosive fireworks injuries. They were uniformly extremely painful and in some cases resulted in vision loss."

Donald Stone, MD reports that the OU Medical Center sees preventable fireworks injuries every year. Dr Stone recalled, "one particular patient lost his dream of becoming a pilot after a fireworks injury, and dozens of others will never have normal vision and will often require multiple reconstructive surgeries." 

For a safe and healthy Independence Day celebration, the OAO urges observance of the following tips:

  • Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
  • View fireworks from a safe distance: at least 500 feet away, or up to a quarter of a mile for best viewing.
  • Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
  • If you find unexploded fireworks remains, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police departments.
  • If you get an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical help immediately.

Find Eye MDs in your area or ask an Eye MD a question by visiting www.GetEyeSmart.org.

The Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology is a professional association composed of approximately 80 Eye MDs in Oklahoma. The mission of the OAO is to advocate and facilitate excellent ophthalmic care for the people of Oklahoma.  

SOURCE Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology