Americans spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on consumer fireworks, which cause more than 9,000 injuries a year. With the Fourth of July holiday just weeks away, Chang Eye Group is reminding you that fireworks are not toys but incendiary devices that can cause devastating eye injuries.

An annual report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that fireworks-related eye injuries have nearly doubled, from 700 in 2016 to 1,200 in 2017. Overall, fireworks caused nearly 13,000 injuries in 2017, up from 11,000 in 2016. What’s behind the increase is unclear, but we do know how to prevent eye injuries. Eye specialists treat thousands of patients who suffer a range of fireworks-related injuries, from cuts and bruises to damaged corneasretinas and ruptured eyeballs. Most injuries are caused by legal fireworks parents buy for their children, such as sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles. To help reduce the number of potentially blinding fireworks accidents this holiday, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is sharing these tips for staying safe around fireworks:

 

  • Keep a safe distance: A recent, five-year study showed that 65 percent of victims were bystanders. Stacy Young was 100 yards away when an illegal firework sent shrapnel into her skull. Ophthalmologists couldn’t save her eye. It had to be removed.

 

  • Don’t pick up duds and misfires: Fireworks nearly cost an Ohio firefighter his sight. He took all the right precautions for his backyard Fourth of July fireworks celebration. But a split-second decision to inspect a “dud” was almost fatal.

 

  • Supervise children closely: Sparklers seem like harmless fun for the kids, but they are responsible for about 1,400 eye injuries each year. Even those tiny poppers or snappers can pose dangers.

 

  • Wear protective eyewear: Ophthalmologists recommend that every household have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear. Stop by any hardware store and pick up some safety glasses for the entire family.

 

  • Celebrate with the pros: The Fourth can be complete without using consumer fireworks. The Academy advises that the safest way to view fireworks is to watch a professional show.