Fireworks Are Responsible For Many Eye Injuries

Along with parades and cookouts, the 4th of July holiday also means fireworks. Unfortunately, every 4th of July sees about 11,000 individuals go to the emergency room because of fireworks-related injuries. Of those total injuries, 18 percent involve the eyes, and eye injury is second only to skin burns. Bottle rockets account for a whopping 15 percent of eye injury from fireworks.

Fireworks-related eye injuries can devastate lives since one-third results in permanent eye damage and one-fourth in partial vision loss or blindness. Unfortunately, children under 15 are the most frequently injured. Additionally, sparklers, many children’s favorite firework, are the source of 10% of injuries caused by fireworks and can burn at 1,800 degrees, which is hot enough to melt gold.

Attending a public display of fireworks on the 4th of July is by far the safest way to enjoy fireworks since professional shows rarely lead to spectator injury. Not so with non-professionals fireworks. However, regardless of how unsafe they might be, non-professional displays continue to be a popular way to enjoy the holiday.  


Sparklers can burn at 1800 degrees! Always wear Safety Glasses when handling fireworks.

Treating Fireworks Eye Injuries

Knowing what to do when an injury occurs can help prevent serious injury and minimize damage. Take the following steps when fireworks cause harm.

  1. Stay calm. Keep the victim as calm as possible too.
  2. Seek medical attention immediately. Even if the injury seems mild, damaged areas can easily worsen if proper treatment does not occur right away.
  3. When the injury is to an eye, do not rub it and be vigilant in keeping a child’s hand away from the wound. Pressure often does more harm than good when it comes to an eye injury.
  4. Avoid rinsing the injured eye since this can be even more damaging than rubbing it. Instead, shield the eye from contact by covering it with a foam cup, milk carton or something similar, and use tape to secure the makeshift patch.
  5. Avoid taking pain medications or applying any creams or lotions to an eye injury. Pain medication can thin blood and cause increased bleeding, and ointment can make the eye slippery and the physician’s job more difficult.
Father Son Fireworks

Fireworks are definitely fun, but safety glasses should always be worn around fireworks.

Preventing Fireworks Eye Injuries

Even better than knowing how to treat eye injuries properly is preventing them from happening in the first place. Consider the following advice to help keep fireworks displays fun and from taking a disastrous turn.

  1. Attend a professional fireworks display and refrain from non-professional displays at someone’s home. Professionals know how to handle fireworks and will keep their audience at a safe distance.
  2. During non-professional fireworks displays, have everyone present wear safety glasses. Safety glasses won’t prevent all fireworks injuries, but they can prevent serious eye injury.
  3. Remember that regular glasses and sunglasses will probably not prevent injury. Instead, they are more likely to break or shatter and cause additional harm.
  4. Concerning children, proper adult supervision goes a long way in preventing injury.
  5. In addition to properly supervising children, insist they wear children’s safety glasses during the display.

Take these simple safety precautions to prevent severe eye damage. Also, know basic treatment protocols for minimizing the harm from an injury. Celebrating our nation’s independence shouldn’t involve a trip to the emergency room.

Do you have a question or comment about firework safety? Please leave a comment below.