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Stay Safe This Independence Day!

    Happy Summer Everyone! Next week, we will celebrate our biggest summer holiday, Independence Day! This wonderful day is a chance for us to spend time with friends and family while reflecting on our great nation.  It is a time of fun, food, and patriotism.  It is also a time of beautiful firework displays all across the nation.  Most people enjoy attending large displays that light up the sky, often presented by fire departments or other qualified volunteers.  There are also many people who choose to purchase and ignite their own fireworks.  And while these at home displays are a fun tradition for many people, they can be very dangerous.

    The 2016 Fireworks Annual Report found that around 11,100 injuries were treated at emergency rooms across the U.S. that year approximately 9% of those injuries were eye related.  These eye related injuries included contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eye.  The most common type of injury not affecting the eye were burns to the face, head, fingers, hands, arms, etc.  There were also 4 deaths reportedly caused by firework misuse or malfunction.  The types of personal fireworks that most commonly cause injuries are firecrackers, sparklers, and bottle rockets.  The age group with the highest rate of injury related to fireworks were young adults between age 20 and 24 with children under the age of 5 coming in with the second highest rate of injury. (1)  One in six ocular firework traumas lead to severe vision loss, mostly in young males, and bystanders are frequently injured as well. (2)

    This information shows that our young people are most likely to be harmed and the idea of having a serious injury to your eye at a young age is very concerning to us, simply because our goal at Eye Care Arkansas is to ensure our patients see as well as possible for their lifetimes.   Firework injuries are largely preventable.  The most effective way to prevent these injuries is to avoid personal firework use.  There is still some risk of injury when attending professional displays but that risk is significantly lower than using fireworks at home.  

    If you choose to enjoy a professional public firework display this 4th of July, make sure to respect all safety barriers at the display location and view fireworks from at least 500 feet away.  If you decide to purchase fireworks for home use, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following safety tips:

  • Never let young children play with fireworks, even sparklers

  • People handling fireworks should wear protective eyewear and should ensure that all bystanders also wear eye protections

  • Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyrotechnicians. (3)

If an eye injury occurs from fireworks:

  • Seek medical attention immediately.  At Eye Care Arkansas, we have an optometrist on call 24/7!! Just call 501-225-4488!

  • Do not rub your eye

  • Do not rinse your eye with anything

  • Do not apply pressure to the eye

  • Do not remove any object that may be stuck in the eye

  • Do not apply any ointments to the eye

  • Do not take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen. (3)

We hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday.  Please keep yourself and your loved ones protected while celebrating!


  1. Tu, Y., Division of Hazard Analysis, Directorate for Epidemiology. (2017, June). 2016 Fireworks Annual Report. Fireworks-Related Deaths and Emergency Department-Treated Injuries During 2016 (Rep.). Retrieved June 27, 2018, from Consumer Product Safety Comission of the United States of America website: https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/Fireworks_Report_2016.pdf?t.YHKjE9bFiabmirA.4NJJST.5SUWIQJ

  2. Wisse RPL, Bijlsma WR, Stilma JS.  Ocular firework trauma: a systematic review on incidence, severity, outcome and prevention.  British Journal of Ophthalmology 2010;94:1586-1591.

  3. Dang, S. (2016, June 10). Fireworks Eye Safety (B. Pagan-Duran MD, Ed.). Retrieved June 17, 2018, from http://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/injuries-fireworks-eye-safety


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