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Fireworks are spectacular and fun, but decades of experience have taught us that they are dangerous and should be left to professional firework handlers. Did you know that nearly 2,000 eye injuries occur each year because of fireworks? And nearly 50% of firework injuries are children, 15 and younger. The American Academy of Ophthalmology urges families to attend public fireworks displays, instead of using fireworks at home, as a safe and patriotic way to honor our tradition of independence, our national unity and our hopes for a healthy future.

Why We Recommend Public Fireworks Displays:

  • There are approximately 8,500 fireworks-related injuries each year in the United States. Of these, about 2,000 are eye injuries. One-third of these injuries result in permanent eye damage and one-fourth in permanent vision loss or blindness. Almost one in 20 victims lose all useful vision or require the removal of the injured eye.
  • One-fourth of all eye injuries caused by consumer fireworks happen to bystanders.
  • Three-fourths of all fireworks-related eye injuries happen to boys between the ages of 13 and 15.
  • The single most dangerous kind of firework is the bottle rocket, which flies erratically, often causing bystander injuries. The bottles and cans used to launch bottle rockets often explode, showering fragments of glass and metal.
  • For children under age 5, sparklers account for three-quarters of all firework injuries. Young children find these sticks of fire — burning as hot as 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit — irresistible to touch.

Safety Tips

  • Never let children play with fireworks of any kind, including sparklers.
  • View public fireworks displays from a safe distance — at least 500 feet away or up to a quarter of a mile.
  • Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians (the professionals who put on fireworks shows) to do their jobs safely.
  • Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
  • Follow directions given by event ushers or public safety personnel (firemen, police).
  • If you find unexploded fireworks, don’t touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police department.

Protecting your eyes from accidents, and early detection and treatment of eye problems are the best ways to keep your healthy vision throughout life. If you or your family are at risk for eye disease or experience any eye problems, visit your Eye Care Physician promptly.

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