An estimated 9 percent of injuries due to fireworks in 2016 were to the eyes.

Handle with care: Don’t let your fun fizzle due to July 4 fireworks

July Fourth weekend is nearing-when business at fireworks stands across the country is booming and the doctors of optometry at Snowy Range Vision Center in Laramie, Wyoming, pen a letter to the local newspaper, warning residents to handle their pyrotechnics with care.

"If an eye injury occurs, immediately seek medical attention from your local doctor of optometry or the nearest emergency room."

Have fun, the Wyoming doctors say in their letter to the editor of the Laramie Boomerang, but leave the fireworks to the professionals.

Don't let your fun fizzle because you didn't handle the fireworks safely.

"We want everyone to have a fun celebration," says Sue Lowe, O.D., practice partner at Snowy Range Vision Center and chair of the AOA's Health Promotions Committee. "However, decades of experience show that fireworks are best left to professional firework handlers. These injuries are preventable."

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least four fireworks-related deaths were reported in 2016. An estimated 11,100 injuries due to fireworks were treated in hospital emergency rooms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say. Of those, most injuries were from firecrackers, but sparklers and bottle rockets also were to blame. About one third of the injuries were to children 15 years of age and under.

An estimated 9 percent of the injuries were to the eyes-including contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies. Most injuries, about 33 percent, were to hands and fingers.

To help prevent eye injuries during fireworks season, the AOA recommends the following tips to help protect and preserve eyesight during the Fourth of July holiday:

  • Discuss fireworks safety with children and teens prior to the Fourth of July holiday.

  • Do not allow kids to handle fireworks, and never leave them unsupervised near fireworks.

  • Wear protective eyewear when lighting and handling fireworks of any kind.

  • Store fireworks, matches and lighters in a secure place where children won't find them.

  • Refrain from purchasing sparklers. Heating up to 2,000 degrees or hotter, sparklers are the No. 1 cause of firework injuries requiring trips to the emergency room.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and only light fireworks when family, friends and children are at a safe distance.


"If an eye injury occurs, immediately seek medical attention from your local doctor of optometry or the nearest emergency room," says Bradley Lane, O.D., who practices in West Virginia and is a member of the AOA's Health Promotions Committee. "They should refrain from rubbing their eyes or applying pressure. Don't attempt to remove any objects that may be stuck in the eye, and avoid taking pain medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin that may thin the blood."

June 29, 2017

comments powered by Disqus