OHSU Casey Eye Institute Offers Tips for Keeping Eyes Safe from Fireworks-Related Injuries

06/30/04    Portland, Ore.


Each year almost 9,000 people are injured from fireworks. Nearly 14 percent of those, or more than 1,200 people, each year receive eye injuries. OHSU¹s Casey Eye Institute offers tips for keeping eyes safe this Independence Day holiday, and advice on how best to treat injuries that if they occur.

Safety tips to avoid eye injuries caused by fireworks:

  • Professional, public displays are the safest way to enjoy fireworks.
  • Do not allow children to play with, or near, fireworks. Almost half of all injuries occur in children younger than 15, and bystanders are more frequently injured than those lighting the fireworks.
  • If you decide to set off fireworks at home, wear protective eyewear, (sunglasses offer little protection and can lead to further injury).
  • Bottle rockets, firecrackers, sparklers and Roman candles are the most dangerous fireworks. Cans and bottles used for launching bottle rockets can explode. Sparklers can heat up to 1800 degrees Farenheit, hot enough to melt gold.

³Eye injuries can cause permanent vision loss so it is important to seek immediate medical treatment,² said Kelly Chung, assistant professor of ophthalmology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

What to do if an injury occurs:

  • Do not rub the eye. This can cause additional damage.
  • Do not rinse the eye. This can also cause additional damage.
  • Shield the eye. Tape the bottom of a foam cup or a similar shield over the eye. This will prevent a child from rubbing or pressing on the injured eye.
  • Do not apply ointment. Medications may not be sterile and may actually inhibit a physician from examining the eye.

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