Ophthalmologists Warn About Eye Injury Risk With Fireworks

American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends wearing protective eyewear, keeping safe distance
American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends wearing protective eyewear, keeping safe distance

(HealthDay News) — With the Fourth of July approaching, ophthalmologists are issuing a warning on the dangers of fireworks and the risk they pose for eye injuries.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), about 10,000 people are treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries each year. Furthermore, the AAO says most of these eye injuries are caused by legal fireworks that parents buy for their children, such as sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and Roman candles. 

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In order to reduce the risk of eye injuries, the AAO advises that those igniting fireworks wear protective eyewear and that bystanders keep a safe distance. In addition, the organization warns that fireworks which appear to be duds and misfires should not be picked up but instead should be soaked from a distance with water, scooped up with a shovel, and submerged in water to ensure they are safe for disposal. Children should be closely supervised, as even sparklers are responsible for about 1,400 eye injuries each year. But if an eye injury does occur, patients should seek medical attention immediately and not attempt any treatment on their own.

"Consumer fireworks are a treasured part of Fourth of July celebrations, so it's easy to forget the dangers they can pose, particularly to the eyes," Dianna L. Seldomridge, M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the AAO, said in a statement. "Please, take our advice. We don't want to see you in the emergency department this Fourth of July."

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