Fireworks are dangerous and July 4 is an especially risky time for eye injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks are involved in thousands of injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms with 15% of those injuries being eye-related. Most fireworks injuries occur during the one-month period surrounding the Fourth of July.fireworks

In the most severe cases, fireworks can rupture the globe of the eye, cause chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions and retinal detachment — all of which can cause permanent eye damage and vision loss.

Even sparklers can be dangerous, as they burn at more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Children and people not handling fireworks themselves are in as much danger as the people actually lighting fireworks.

Firework Eye Safety Tips

  • Don’t let your children play with fireworks – Sparklers, firecrackers, and Roman candles can all cause eye injuries when mishandled. The best way to prevent injuries from fireworks is to not let children play with them. Even when using sparklers,make sure children are supervised. They should also keep the sparklers at arm’s length and never swing them around or run with them. 
  • View fireworks from a safe distance – 500 feet away is the recommended distance. If lighting fireworks, this is how far away to be from everyone else. 
  • Wear protective eyewear while handling fireworks - Polycarbonate safety glasses are readily available and will not shatter on impact. Wearing them can prevent sight threatening injuries. 
  • Never launch fireworks in metal or glass containers - These types of containers can easily shatter and create dangerous shrapnel. 
  • Do not touch unexploded fireworks – If a firework is a dud, handling it can still cause it to explode. Keep a source of water on hand and douse any duds before picking them up.
What to Do for a Fireworks Eye Injury

Fireworks-related eye injuries can combine blunt force trauma, heat burns and chemical exposure. If an eye injury from fireworks occurs, it should be considered a medical emergency.
  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Do not rub your eyes
  • Do not rinse your eyes
  • Do not apply pressure
  • Do not remove any objects stuck in the eye
The Eye Institute (TEI) offers a variety of diagnostic and treatment services including emergency care for eye injuries that require immediate attention. Current patients of TEI can report to TEI’s Emergency Service during regular business hours. If emergency care is required after hours, patients who have had an exam in the past three years can call 215.604.4323.