The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) warns that children and teenagers are at risk for eye damage around the Fourth of July from sparklers, bottle rockets and other hand-held fireworks.
According to the AAO, about 9,000 fireworks-related injuries occur each year. Of those, 21 percent are eye injuries with more than half of the victims young children or teenagers. One in every six fireworks-related eye injuries results in permanent vision loss or blindness.
Dr. Monica L. Monica, an ophthalmologist and clinical correspondent for the AAO, said the safest choice for families on the Fourth of July “is to attend a professional fireworks display, and make it a point to supervise children at all times.”
To ensure a safe Fourth of July, the AAO recommends you follow these safety tips:
- Stay at least 500 feet away from the fireworks.
- Keep fireworks away from children.
- Let professionals light the fireworks.
- Set up a safety barrier before the fireworks begin, and do not cross it.
- Alert local police or fire departments if you find unexploded fireworks.