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Fireworks and Eye Safety

Fireworks and Eye Safety

We are quickly approaching one of the most celebrated holidays in our area. We commemorate July 4th and the Declaration of Independence in a number of ways. Your family may brave the heat and fire up the grill. Many will spend some time at their favorite lake or swimming hole. We will likely welcome thousands of visitors to our area from all over the state. At the same time, many Asheville locals will take the opportunity to go down to the Carolina coast. 


One thing that will be involved in almost everyone’s celebration is fireworks. While they are fun to see and can be mesmerizing for children and adults alike, fireworks can pose some dangers, especially to our eyes and vision. 

In this article, we are providing tips for protecting your eyes during firework season. 


The Potential Dangers of Fireworks

As with many things, fireworks can be a lot of fun but also have inherent danger. It is important to be aware of the concerns associated with fireworks for the safety of you and your family:

  • There are a number of regulations regarding where and what kind of fireworks can be set off in our state and each municipality. Many local parks and neighborhoods do not allow them at all.
  • 86% of fireworks injuries occur to people 20 years old or younger. Over a third of all injuries are to children younger than fifteen.
  • Children ages 10-14 have the highest estimated rate of emergency-department responses to injuries caused by fireworks. 
  • Of the many fireworks injuries each year, 19% are to the eyes – making them the third most common injury. Hands and legs account for a combined 52% of injuries.
  • Sparklers burn at 1,800-degrees.
  • 65% of fireworks injuries occur to bystanders, as opposed to the people who light them.

If you are planning to celebrate with fireworks, you must remember that there are inherent dangers. 

General Fireworks Safety Practices

Some general fireworks safety practices include:

  • Children should never ignite or play with fireworks. 
  • Adults should always supervise children with sparklers. 
  • Always buy legal fireworks and make sure you are aware of all regulations. 
  • If a lit firework does not go off, do not try to pick it up or relight it. 
  • Never throw or point a firework (lit or not) at a person. 
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher or water hose nearby. 
  • Spectators should stand a safe distance from those lighting the fireworks. 
  • Make sure used fireworks are thoroughly doused before disposing of them. 

By practicing proper fireworks safety, you drastically reduce the chances of you and your family experiencing scary injuries. 

How to Protect Your Eyes 

Since eyes account for almost a fifth of all fireworks-related injuries, here are a few key tips for protecting your eyes:

  • The safest way to view fireworks is from a distance of 500-feet away or more. Whether it is at home or in town, the majority of injuries occur to bystanders. 
  • Delayed explosions can be destructive for your eyes. Do not pick up a dud. If it lights and does not explode, leave it until it can be doused. 
  • Make sure children do not play with fireworks as they will likely be less discerning and more likely to put them near their faces. 
  • When it comes to sparkers, it is vital children hold them away from their faces and eyes. 
  • If you are lighting fireworks, wear protective eye gear.
  • If you are lighting fireworks, do not hold them near your face or eyes. 

Protecting your eyes is vital when lighting and watching fireworks.

What You Should Do if You Think Your Eyes Might Have Been Harmed

Protecting your eyes from injury is key, but if an accident occurs, here’s what you need to know:

  • Do NOT rub your eyes. 
  • Do NOT apply any pressure to your eyes. 
  • Do NOT attempt to remove any objects from your eyes on your own. 
  • Do NOT attempt to rinse or flush your eyes.
  • Do NOT try to treat your eyes with ointments or drops before you consult your doctor. 
  • Do NOT hesitate to seek medical attention. Do NOT wait until the next day. 

When it comes to your eye health and vision, you never want to delay seeking medical attention if you have been injured. If you have experienced any kind of eye injury, whether it is from fireworks, sports, or just daily life, after you have sought emergency medical care, you should always follow up with your optometrist. Haven’t been for a while? Here’s what to expect during a routine examination

We want you to have a safe, enjoyable Fourth of July celebration. Remember to schedule your exam with your trusted optometrist in western North Carolina