Observe Eye-Safe Precautions to Protect Eyesight This Fourth of July

ST. LOUIS, Mo., July 2, 2013 -- Each year, we honor Independence Day with a dazzling display of fireworks - whether it be right in our own backyards or at a community celebration. Although most families take precautions to protect themselves and their children against the potential dangers of fireworks, thousands still visit the emergency room every year - often with eye injuries. 

According to a special study conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 9,600 consumers were treated for injuries due to fireworks in emergency rooms during 2011, and 17 percent of those injuries were to the eyes. 

To help prevent eye injuries during firework season, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends the following tips to help protect and preserve eyesight during the Fourth of July holiday:

  • Discuss firework 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 number one 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. 

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):

The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find an optometrist near you, visit www.aoa.org.