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Each year, three-quarters of fireworks injuries treated in emergency rooms occur between mid-June and mid-July. Fireworks are advertised like toys around the Fourth of July, and many consumers do not realize that severe eye injuries can result from the combination of force, heat and chemicals in these explosives.

Fireworks Safety

UNC Department of Ophthalmology highly recommends enjoying professional fireworks presentations this Independence Day instead of purchasing consumer fireworks for use at home that may cause a blinding injury. For those who are around safe use of consumer fireworks, safety goggles should be worn. To obtain safety goggles, call the optical shop at UNC Kittner Eye Center at 984-974-2039.

Myths on Using Consumer Fireworks at Home

Myth #1: Consumer fireworks are harmless. Fireworks can cause blinding eye injuries such as chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions or retinal detachment. If you live in a state where consumer fireworks are legal and have plans to use them, wear eye protection.

Myth #2: Sparklers are made for kids and aren’t dangerous. Don’t let their small size fool you; sparklers burn at more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot enough to melt certain metals.

Myth #3: Duds are harmless. Malfunctioning fireworks should be handled with caution. Do not try to relight faulty fireworks. Instead, soak it in water and throw the dud away.

Myth #4: Only those handling the fireworks are at risk. The majority of firework-related eye injuries happen to bystanders. Watch fireworks from at least 500 feet away and make sure everyone is wearing eye protection.