June marks Fireworks Eye Safety and Cataracts Awareness Month. Fireworks cause more than 9,000 injuries a year, and cataracts (a vision-clouding area in the lens of the eye) are one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

 

With 4th of July celebrations coming up, it’s extremely important to know and understand Firework Safety. If you are attending/hosting a firework show, you should always:

  • Remain at least 500 feet away
  • Do not allow any running or horseplay
  • Set off fireworks outdoors in a clear area- away from houses, trees, dry leaves, and other flammable materials
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby
  • Do not try to relight “dud” fireworks- soak them in water and throw them away
  • Never light fireworks in a container
  • Never have your body directly over a firework while lighting
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks
  • Do not touch exploded fireworks. Wait at least 20 minutes for them to cool and soak in water before disposing
  • Wear safety glasses while lighting fireworks

 

Sparklers are often thought of as the ideal safe firework for children. Sparklers burn at very high temperatures and one spark in the eye could harm a child’s vision permanently. They should never be used without adult supervision, and preferably never in the hand of a child.

 

The sun is just as dangerous to your vision as fireworks. Without proper eye protection, the sun can cause cataracts, which are the most common cause of vision loss for individuals over the age of 40. Here are some tips to help prevent the development of cataracts:

  • Eat Right: Introduce more antioxidant and glutathione-rich (a detoxifying antioxident)  foods into your diet such as broccoli, asparagus, spinach, brussels sprouts, avocados, grapefruit, and strawberries. Drink plenty of water also helps flush out harmful toxins.
  • Wear Protective Glasses: The suns UV rays are harmful to your eyes, and researches have confirmed that UV rays can cause cataracts by damaging proteins within the lens of your eyes. Whichever brand or style you choose, make sure they offer 99%-100% protection against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Avoid Smoking: Everyone knows that smoking is harmful to your heart and lungs, but smoking can also harm your eyes. Free radicals are created in your eyes when you inhale smoke. When you smoke, good chemicals in your body are consumed, encouraging the production of toxins that cause cataracts.

 

Of course, the answer to maintaining eye health for all the above is the receive regular eye exams. Partaking in regular eye exams can help doctors catch early eye diseases, inform you of preventative measures, and keep your overall eye health on track while aging. Call us today at (941) 756-2020 to schedule your comprehensive eye exam!