Eye injuries related to fireworks have doubled since 2012, according to an American Academy of Ophthalmology press release that offered tips on staying safe during the July 4th holiday.
There were 1,300 eye injuries related to fireworks treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2014 compared with 600 eye injuries reported in 2012, the AAO reported from Consumer Product Safety Commission data.
To prevent eye injuries, the AAO offered these guidelines:
Small sparklers are just as dangerous as fireworks.
Extinguished fireworks can still reignite.
Bystanders can be injured, with an international study showing that half of fireworks eye injuries were sustained by bystanders and one in six of those injuries caused severe vision loss.
The safest way to watch fireworks is at a professional show.
If there is a fireworks eye injury, seek immediate medical attention. Do not remove objects from the eye, apply ointment or take pain medication before seeking help, and do not rub or rinse the eye or apply pressure.
“Playing with consumer fireworks around these holidays has become such a beloved tradition that it is easy to forget the dangers they can pose, particularly to the eyes,” Philip R. Rizzuto, MD, ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the AAO, said in the release. “We hope people will take the safest route to celebrating their independence by leaving fireworks to the professionals this year.”