Each year, celebrations for the 4th of July include many festivities but the highlights are often fireworks. Whether the fireworks are large commercial fireworks that are a part of a grand display or smaller, at-home options these celebrations can pose a risk to the health and safety of those watching and partaking. Keeping the eyes safe can be done with proper prevention and awareness. Only using approved fireworks, wearing appropriate safety protection, and having an emergency plan in place are keys to having a happy and safe Independence Day.
Why Fireworks are Dangerous to the Eyes
Fireworks pose a few main dangers to the eyes including burns from the ignition or sparks, chemical damage from the contents of the firework, or physical damage from debris left by the firework.
Each of these risks is present any time fireworks are detonated and should be accounted for properly.
Use Approved Fireworks Only
The first thing that should be done to ensure safety with fireworks is to only use fireworks that are approved for the type of use that is desired.
If using fireworks in a private or residential setting, you should avoid purchasing or using commercial-grade fireworks or detonators.
These fireworks are approved based on the necessary blast area and safe zones. If there is anyone within the blast area, it is possible to have unwanted chemical exposure, increase the risk of burns, and can lead to both eye and other injuries.
Wearing Eye Protection for Fireworks
Anytime someone is going to light, handle, or be near an ignited firework, eye protection should be worn.
Large fireworks will give off flames, sparks, and gasses once ignited that can damage the eyes if there is no protection such as safety glasses or goggles.
Smaller, handheld fireworks such as sparklers are designed to be lit and handled near the body but still can emit sparks and embers that can result in burns that are especially harmful to the eyes.
While watching fireworks from a safe distance does not require any eye protection, if watching fireworks from a near location where falling debris or sparks are possible, eye protection is indicated to protect the eyes.
Have an Emergency Plan in Place
In the event of something going wrong with any type of fireworks, it is important to have a safety and emergency plan in place.
Problems can include a firework falling or tilting, exploding without launching or catching fire.
Each of these can lead to medical emergencies and risks to eye health. Having a plan of action and a known method by which medical and eye care can be obtained will reduce the risk of long-term damage.
Fireworks and the Eyes
Fireworks are truly magnificent and stunning displays when enjoyed appropriately. However, understanding and respecting the risks and dangers of fireworks is an important part of having a safe holiday.
If any injuries or problems with the eyes occur, contact your eye doctor immediately to seek the best eye care.