Eye injuries caused by fireworks are often severe and can cause permanent reduced visual acuity and even blindness. Findings from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database maintained by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicate that approximately 12,000 persons are treated each year in U.S. emergency rooms due to firework-related injuries; of these, an estimated 20% are eye related.
The use of fireworks by non-professionals results in the increased number of injuries each year, many of which go unreported. The “legal” status of amateur fireworks varies from state to state, but certain types of fireworks are clearly more dangerous than others. Nevertheless, even sparklers, which are often dismissed as having minimal risk, burn at 1800 degrees. Hot enough to melt gold! It is important to us that our patients are aware of these facts in hopes that extra care will be taken this Fourth of July weekend.
Facts about eye injuries from fireworks:
• Approximately 2,400 eye injuries occur each year from consumer fireworks use.
• About one-third of these injuries result in permanent eye damage and one-fourth in permanent vision loss or blindness.
• Almost one in twenty firework-related eye injury victims lose all useful vision or require removal of the eye.
• Data from the United States Eye Injury Registry shows that bystanders are more often injured by fireworks than the operators themselves.
• Three-fourths of all firework-related eye injuries happen to boys between the ages of 13 and 15.
• Cataracts and glaucoma are common long-term complications of blunt trauma injuries such as those caused by fireworks.
The breakdown of injuries by device:
Fireworks Device - % of Estimated Injuries
Bottle Rockets 15%
Spinners and Novelties 5%
Roman Candles 4%
Reloadable Mortars 3%
Public Displays 3%
This Fourth of July weekend millions of patriotic Americans are set to celebrate the nation’s birthday with plenty of family time, barbecue, and fireworks. On behalf of Cockrell Eye Care Center, have fun, be safe, and please practice firework safety. Remember the most common persons injured are children bystanders!
In the event you have an eye related problem our office is on call seven days a week including Fourth of July. Please call our office in Stillwater at 405-372-1715 for the doctor on call. We also invite you to visit our website at www.cockrelleyecare.com and like us on Facebook at Cockrell Eye Care Center!