The Fourth of July is on Wednesday. And fireworks – more prevalent than ever in Rhode Island now with sellers popping up in tents on the Wampanoag Trail -- are a traditional part of Independence Day celebrations.
“Many Americans get caught up in the excitement of the Fourth of July, and forget that fireworks are also dangerous explosives,” said Monica L. Monica, an ophthalmologist and clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “The safest choice is to attend a professional fireworks display, and make it a point to supervise children at all times.”
If you plan on creating your own fireworks display, first read through these EyeSmart fireworks safety tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Even sparklers -- usually handled by children -- are dangerous. They typically burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and cause 27 percent of all fireworks injuries, including third-degree burns.
Bottle rockets cause some of the most serious eye injuries. Errant bottle rockets can injure the users as well as bystanders and cause eyelid lacerations, corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, rupture of the eyeball, and complete blindness.
One in every six fireworks-related eye injuries results in permanent vision loss or blindness, according to the academy.
To prevent eye injuries, follow these tips:
- Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
- View fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
- Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
- Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
- If you find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police departments.
If you experience an eye injury during a fireworks accident, seek immediate medical help. The number for Barrington EMTs is 437-3940.