Nashville, Tenn. – June 20, 2012 – According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 1,300 Americans injure their eyes using fireworks each year. One in six of these eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness. To prevent these injuries, the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology and American Academy of Ophthalmology urge Tennessee residents to take caution during holiday celebrations and leave fireworks to the professionals this Independence Day.
“Our eyes are one of the most important parts of our bodies – but they are also very fragile,” said Ben B. Mahan, M.D., President of the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology. “Unfortunately, we see a spike in injured patients this time each year because people forget that fireworks, while fun, are also dangerous. Kids are especially vulnerable to fireworks hazards.”
Children age fourteen and younger account for almost 40 percent of all fireworks injuries in the United States. Bottle rockets cause some of the most serious eye injuries, but even sparklers pose a very real threat. Sparklers typically burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and cause 27 percent of all fireworks injuries, including third-degree burns. Errant bottle rockets can injure bystanders and cause eye lid lacerations, corneal abrasions, traumatic cataract, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, rupture of the eyeball, eye muscle damage, and complete blindness.
For a safe Independence Day, the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology and American Academy of Ophthalmology urge the public to be Eye Smart and follow these tips:
- Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
- Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
- Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
- If you find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police departments.
- View fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
If you experience an eye injury during a fireworks accident, seek immediate medical help. For more fireworks safety tips, visit www.geteyesmart.org.