Red, white, blue… and eye injuries, too! Your eye health care team at Eye Center, Inc. would like to remind you that the safest way to enjoy Fourth of July fireworks is by sitting back and letting the professionals put on a great show.

Fireworks contribute to thousands of injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms each year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Naturally, more fireworks occur during the time surrounding the Fourth of July.

In 2016, an estimated 7,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments surrounding the 4th of July period. Males accounted for 61% of fireworks injuries and 31% of fireworks injuries were to children under age 15. The head, face and ears were injured in 20% of these cases.

Fireworks have gone hand-in-hand with celebrating 4th of July since before the Declaration of Independence was even signed. John Adams envisioned fireworks as a part of the festivities. In a letter to Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776, he wrote that the occasion should be commemorated “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

We agree that fireworks should remain a staple of the celebration forever more, but there are precautions you can take to prevent injuries. The best defense against kids (and grown-up kids, too) suffering severe eye injuries and burns is to not let children play with any fireworks, even if his/her friends are setting them off. Sparklers burn at 1800º Fahrenheit, and bottle rockets can stray off course or throw shrapnel when they explode. Aside from leaving it to the professionals, the best defense against a Fourth of July eye injury is to wear protective eyewear.

If an accident does occur, minimize the damage to the eye. In the event of an eye emergency:

  • Do not rub the eye. 
  • Do not apply pressure to the eye itself. 
  • Do head to the emergency room.

Be safe and aware of the risks this Fourth of July. We want you to have fun, and avoiding an eye injury is the best way to keep spirits high and enjoy your celebration!