Fireworks, Eye Burn Injury And Blindness

Fireworks And Eye Safety

Summer brings with it fun, outdoor activities, and fireworks.  Memorial Day 2022 was the initial start for summer fireworks, and June 2022 is Fireworks Safety Month. The Fourth of July Holiday is just weeks away, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology wants the public to know that fireworks are not toys but flammable gadgets that can cause devastating eye injuries. In the U.S. Americans spend hundreds of millions of dollars yearly on consumer fireworks. In 2020 there were approximately 15,600 injuries resulting in a trip to hospital emergency rooms. Insights from a 2017 study suggest that there were approximately 13,000 fireworks injuries and 8 deaths, and a simple fireworks gadget like sparklers was responsible for 1,200 injuries.  Injuries and death from 2017 to 2020 increased by 20% and 125% respectively.

Studies show that 99 percent of all ocular firework injuries result from consumer-grade and homemade fireworks. CPSC, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission data shows that fireworks deaths and injuries were up 50% from 2019 to 2020 resulting in more than 15,000 people in the emergency room and 18 deaths. More than 50% of these incidents occur during the Fourth of July time period.

Eye Injuries And Fireworks (UAB Medicine):

  • One in five fireworks injuries involved some type of eye trauma.
  • One in three eye injuries from fireworks results in blindness in the injured eye.
  • The most common eye injury from fireworks is a burn to the eye surface.
  • Only 10% of people treated for fireworks injuries said they were using protective eyewear.

Firework Types

  • Bursts.
  • Firecrackers.
  • Illuminations.
  • Rockets.
  • Sparklers.
  • Roman candles.
  • Bottle rockets.
  • Fire flowers.

 Fireworks And Burn Injuries

The National Safety Council suggests that consumers avoid fireworks and attend public displays where fireworks professionals are managing the fireworks. Fireworks that cause the most injuries are firecrackers, sparklers, and bottle rockets. Approximately 50% of the injuries involve burns. The most common injury from fireworks is a finger or hand with a burn. A minor burn causes redness and pain, and blisters result from serious burns. White leathery skin and damage under the skin are the results of serious burns. Burn injuries can affect muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels, and damage the respiratory system. Therefore, causing possible airway obstruction, respiratory failure, and respiratory arrest.

Fireworks Smoke And Their Particles.

Fireworks smoke consists of two types of particulate matter; course particulates (PM10) and fine particulates (PM2.5). It is important to note that short-term exposure to fine particle pollution can pose health concerns for those with respiratory conditions. Especially for children, and older adults. PM and gases emitted from fireworks also trigger cardiovascular diseases, reduce lung function and facilitate the worsening of respiratory illness, including asthma.

 Rules To Follow ( And NSC):
  • Obey the laws of your state.
  • Do not handle fireworks under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • You should not ignite fireworks indoors or an inside a container
  • Remain a significant distance away from the fireworks.
  • Children should not handle fireworks, including sparkles (they burn at 2,000 degrees).
  • Minors should always be supervised by adults.
  • Relighting Don’t try to re-light malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of having to extinguish fire or malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Throwing fireworks at someone is not safe.
  • Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Always use them away from people, houses, and flammable material
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Re-lighting or handling malfunctioning fireworks is unsafe.
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
  • Never use illegal fireworks
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following if you experience an eye injury due to Fireworks
  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Do not rub your eyes
  • Avoid rinsing your eyes.
  • No pressure
  • Leave any objects that are stuck in the eye.
  • Applying ointments or taking any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen is a no unless directed by a doctor.

During these times when you are enjoying fireworks remember that a safe distance from fireworks is anywhere between 35–150 feet. Studies show that on Independence Day fireworks introduce 42% more pollutants into the air than that found on a typical day.

Contact us if you have questions about Fireworks Safety, and see us immediately if you experience any eye injuries due to fireworks.


Massapequa Optometric Care
532 Broadway
Massapequa, NY 11758

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