10,000 Reasons to Leave Fireworks to the Professionals

Member Blog Contributed by Chamber Member Oregon Eye Specialists, PC

Every year, about 10,000 people are rushed to the emergency department for fireworks injuries. Ophthalmologists – physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care – treat thousands of patients who suffer a range of fireworks-related injuries, from cuts and bruises to damaged corneas, retinas, and ruptured eyeballs. Many people believe that consumer fireworks are safe. But here’s the explosive truth: Most injuries are caused by legal fireworks parents buy for their children, such as sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and Roman candles. To help reduce the number of potentially blinding fireworks accidents this holiday, Oregon Eye Specialists providers are sharing these tips:

  • Wear protective eyewear when igniting fireworks: Ophthalmologists recommend that every household have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear. Stop by any hardware store and pick up some safety glasses for the entire family.
  • Don’t pick up duds and misfires: Keep a hose and buckets of water on hand for duds and misfires. Soak the dud from a distance with a hose or a bucket of water. Pick it up with a shovel and fully submerge it in a bucket of water to ensure it’s safe for disposal.
  • Keep a safe distance: Bystanders are injured by fireworks as often as the operator. 
  • Supervise children closely: Sparklers seem like harmless fun for the kids, but they are responsible for about 1,400 eye injuries each year. Even those tiny poppers or snappers can pose dangers.
  • Celebrate with the pros: The Fourth can be complete without using consumer fireworks. We advise that the safest way to view fireworks is to watch a professional show.

“Having taken emergency room call several times on the Fourth of July, I can tell you that severe eye injuries are not rare on this holiday,” says Devin Gattey, MD, President of Oregon Eye Specialists. “Thermal burns, chemical burns, blunt trauma, and penetrating trauma have all crossed my path on Oregon Eye Specialists, PC June 2020  this, the day of the year most feared by physicians in my profession. If you decide to have a neighborhood fireworks show, put a sober adult in charge and have the kids wear safety glasses if they are at all involved. This is no different than telling your child to wear a bike helmet,” says Gattey.

If you experience a fireworks eye injury, ophthalmologists urge you to minimize the damage to the eye:

• Seek medical attention immediately

• Do not rub the eye. Rubbing may make the injury worse

• Do not attempt to rinse the eye

• Do not apply pressure to the eye

• Do not remove objects from the eye

• Do not apply ointments or take pain medications before seeking medical help

To learn more ways to keep your eyes healthy, visit Oregon Eye Specialists Eye Health Blog.

About Oregon Eye Specialists, PC Oregon Eye Specialists, PC is an 18-physician ophthalmology and optometry practice with six clinics throughout Oregon. Our providers are experienced in the full range of medical, surgical and vision eye care for all ages. Our entire team is dedicated to providing our patients with excellent service and personalized care.


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