As we prepare to celebrate our nation's Independence, the month of July has been designated as Fireworks Eye Safety Month by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
"Fireworks are a common cause of severe eye and hand injuries that can permanently ruin lives and turn a joyous celebration into a horrible nightmare," UNC Eye Care Center Chairman Donald L. Budenz, MD, MPH said. "That is why most states have correctly outlawed the sales of fireworks to the public."
Here are some safety tips from the AAO for preventing eye injuries related to handling and viewing fireworks this 4th of July:
- Never handle fireworks without protective eyewear and ensure that all bystanders are also wearing eye protection.
- Never let young children play with fireworks of any type. If older children are permitted to handle fireworks, ensure they are closely supervised by an adult and wear protective eyewear.
- Clear the area of flammable materials and view fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
- Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyrotechnicians.
For those who attend professional fireworks displays and/or live in communities surrounding the shows:
- Respect safety barriers at fireworks shows.
- Do not touch unexploded display (show) fireworks; instead, immediately contact local fire or police departments to help.