Play It Safe With Fireworks This Summer

In the summer, celebrating our nation’s independence is one of our favorite pastimes,
and fireworks are in the middle of those celebrations. But a June 2022 report estimates
11,500 fireworks injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms. 1 Of those, 14%
were injuries to the eyes. That’s why the ophthalmologists at Colorado Ophthalmology
Associates of Denver, CO, would like to remind you that June is Fireworks Eye Safety
Month. Taking a minute to make sure everyone’s eyes are protected could mean the
difference between a devastating eye injury and an enjoyable fireworks display filled
with happy memories.

Fireworks-Related Injuries


Misfired or incorrectly discharged fireworks can result in a variety of catastrophic injuries
and even death. A simple mistake or oversight when handling or viewing fireworks could
cause a permanent injury or even loss of vision. Here are a few of the most common
fireworks eye injuries that can cause corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, or ruptured
eye globe.
1. Thermal burns
2. Chemical burns
3. Blunt force trauma
4. Contusions or lacerations

Prevention Tips


For greatest safety, ophthalmologists recommend attending professional fireworks
displays rather than having fireworks at home. Even then, injuries can occur. However, if
you do insist on having home fireworks, follow these safety tips.

1. Keep away from children. Even sparklers, which burn at more than 2,000
degrees, are dangerous. 2 Provide child-safe alternatives such as glow sticks and
pop-its.
2. Wear eye protection and make sure viewers wear eye protection and stay as far
away as possible.
3. Have a designated supervisor in charge of fireworks. Since teenagers account
for the highest rate of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries, adults should
still supervise them. 3
4. Explain the rules in advance. No running or horseplay should be allowed and
participants should know the boundaries and to stay back as far as possible.
5. Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t add containers, bottles or other devices.
6. Keep your body positioned away from the fireworks and the direction it will erupt.
Use a long-stemmed lighter to give you better reach.
7. Have a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher nearby. Used fireworks or “duds”
should be immersed in water after they have remained untouched for some time.
8. Be aware of the location of all of the participants at all times. 4

Injury Response

Even with good planning, injuries can still happen. It is important to respond
appropriately to fireworks-related eye injuries to prevent further damage and to stabilize
the patient during transport. Objects embedded in the eye should be left there. Do not
try to remove it. Cover the eye with a cup to help prevent the person from touching or
rubbing the eye. 2
If an eye has been injured by fireworks, do not rub the eye, do not rinse it or apply any
kind of pressure. Do not apply any kinds of ointment or drops or take any pain killers. 5
Take the injured person to the nearest ER or to Colorado Ophthalmology Associates.

Urgent Care is Available


If you or someone you love sustains an eye injury, we are here to help. Call us at one of
our two Colorado locations in Denver or Lakewood to get an emergency appointment or
just walk in. Our ophthalmologists are experienced with urgent injuries and can get your
treatment started as soon as possible.
Denver: 303-320-1777
Lakewood: 303-989-2023

1 https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/2021-Fireworks-Annual-Report.pdf
2https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/injuries-fireworks-eye-safety
3 https://preventblindness.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/MK21-Fireworks.pdf
4 https://www.aoa.org/news/clinical-eye-care/public-health/july-4-can-spark-eye-safety-conversation-with-public?sso=y
5 https://preventblindness.org/prevent-eye-injuries-from-fireworks/

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