fireworks safetyLOUISVILLE, Ky. (12/28/17) — If you choose to mark the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve with the bang of fireworks, take steps to keep the celebration safe. An eye injury is no way to start the new year.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that nearly 12,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in the United States in 2015, and about 2,000 of those were eye injuries. Fireworks can cause eye damage through chemical or thermal burns and injuries to the eyeball, resulting in permanent vision loss.

Sidharth Puri, M.D., a resident physician with the University of Louisville Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, hopes to keep Louisville residents aware of the dangers posed by fireworks.

“These are not benign, safe, colorful toys. They are miniaturized explosions and they have to be treated with care. These injuries are preventable,” Puri said. “If we can reach one child or one family member and prevent a firework from going off too near their face and blinding them, that is our goal – to save at least one person’s vision.”

Puri offers the following safety tips:

Do not allow young children play with fireworks of any type, even sparklers.

Always wear protective eyewear when handling fireworks and ensure that all bystanders are also wearing eye protection.
Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyrotechnicians.

If an eye injury from fireworks occurs:

Seek medical attention immediately.
Do not rub your eyes
Do not rinse your eyes
Do not apply pressure
Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye
Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen

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