June is Fireworks Eye Safety Month. With the July 4th holiday just around the corner, we wanted to remind you about the potential dangers of fireworks. There were almost 13,000 fireworks-related injuries in 2017 and 14% of fireworks injuries were eye-related. While they are fun to watch, remember that they are incendiary devices that can cause burns and serious eye injuries – even blindness – if not handled correctly.

Follow these safety tips during your Independence Day celebrations:

  • Wear safety glasses that meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards when igniting or watching fireworks
  • Do not allow children to light fireworks – they are not toys
  • Read the labels prior to igniting fireworks – light only one at a time
  • Do not drink alcohol when lighting fireworks
  • Do not attempt to relight fireworks that fizzle out
  • Have a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of emergency
  • Do not shoot fireworks in or on a metal or glass container
  • Stay a safe distance away from fireworks – at least 500 feet away
  • Soak used fireworks in water before disposing of them

How to Respond to Firework Eye Injuries

If you or a loved one suffers an eye injury as a result of fireworks, get to an emergency room immediately. Do not try to self-medicate with ointments. Do not apply pressure, remove objects stuck in the eye or flush the eye with water. A doctor will need to assess the damage and provide appropriate treatment. Although it may be difficult, do not touch or rub your eye to avoid infection, corneal scarring and other complications.