Fireworks and Eye Safety: The Dos and Don’ts

Firework-related injuries are common during big celebrations, such as welcoming the new year. In 2020 alone, more than 15,000 people were rushed to the hospitals following firework-related accidents. Out of all of those, 15% resulted in eye-related injuries.

From burns to abrasions, different eye injuries caused by fireworks can ruin your supposed happy celebration. Worst, some accidents may lead to total and permanent blindness. To avoid any mishap, below is a brief guide to help you protect your eyes as you welcome the year ahead. Read on.

Can Fireworks Damage the Eye?

Fireworks might be fascinating to look at, but they pose a real danger when not handled properly. The eyes, in particular, are among the most likely body parts to get injured in the event of firework-related accidents. Specifically, fireworks may explode unexpectedly at close range, potentially wounding the eyes, rupturing the eyeballs, or burning them.

To date, there are different types of fireworks available in the market. The most popular is the rocket, designed like a missile that goes into the sky and explodes into an array of colors. While rockets are meant to take off and explode far up in the night sky, accidents can still occur, such as when these explosives go off the wrong way and explode near a person. When this happens, flying debris caused by the explosion and sparks from the fireworks may hit a person’s eyes and injure them.

Another popular type of firework is called the sparkler, which serves as a handheld firework that burns slowly while emitting sparks. While sparklers are generally considered safer than other types of fireworks, they are not entirely risk-free. The shower of sparks being thrown off at close range may burn the eyes due to heat and/or chemical exposure.

Finally, another popular type of firework is called the firecracker, a kind of explosive designed to produce a series of loud bangs when heated. Explosions caused by firecrackers may result in simple scratches rupturing the eye globe.

Common Eye Injuries Caused by Fireworks

  1.   Corneal abrasions

Corneal abrasion refers to a scratch on the cornea, the protective outer layer of the eyes. This condition may result when fireworks explode near the face of a person and flying debris from the explosions scratch the surface of the eyes.

  1.   Burns

Fireworks are extremely hot. Their temperatures can reach up to 1,000 °C, potentially causing third-degree burns. Naturally, close exposure to these explosives poses high risks to the skin and your eyes.

  1.   Globe rupture

Globe rupture refers to when the outer membranes of the eye become ruptured, either partially or completely. It often happens due to penetrating trauma, such as in cases of car accidents or stabbing incidents. In case of fireworks mishaps, the small explosive device of the firework itself may hit the eye, or blunt objects from the explosion may approach and injure the outer membranes of the eye.

How to avoid eye injuries due to fireworks?

The Dos

  • Light one firework at a time

While it may be tempting to hold as many sparklers as you can or light as many firecrackers at once, it’s not safe to do so. The combined forces of these explosives may throw off even greater chemicals and project more blunt objects in the air, which may hit your eyes. Sparklers, in particular, are very hot and can flare up uncontrollably. Having more than one in your hand will expose you to greater heat and more spark fallout.  

  • Wear protective equipment

The clothes and other items you wear are your best shield against possible accidents when lighting fireworks. These include gloves to protect your hands and arms from possible burns and injuries, a proper safety helmet for the head, and finally, a pair of goggles for your eyes.

  •  Keep a safe distance

A safe distance of at least 35 feet is recommended when handling ground-based explosives, such as firecrackers. Meanwhile, handling aerial fireworks, such as rockets requires a minimum distance of around 150 feet. For sparklers, it’s necessary to hold them as far away as possible from your body by extending your arms outwards.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t pick up fireworks even if they seem to have malfunctioned

It’s essential not to re-light or approach a firework that had seemed to have malfunctioned. Fireworks are naturally unpredictable. There is no accurate time as to when they will explode. If you try to approach them or re-light them, they might explode right at that very instance when you’re holding them close to your face.

  • Don’t point or throw it towards another person

Since fireworks are unpredictable, it’s dangerous to point or throw them at a person. Firecrackers and rockets might explode towards them, and the burning sparks from the sparklers might burn their eyes.

  •   Don’t use them indoors

Fireworks are meant to be used outdoors. This is true regardless of their size. The limited space inside our homes makes it difficult to move and evade possible fireworks mishaps. Moreover, lighting these low explosives indoors increases the risks of accidents due to furniture and other flammable items.

A Word of Advice

Now that 2022 is less than a month away, fireworks-related injuries are expected to spike again as people prepare to welcome the new year with a bang. Before you light the fire and complete the resolutions, it’s essential to know how to protect your eyes from possible risks and complications due to such explosives.

To know more about the proper eye care tips or if you have any concerns regarding your eye health, you may visit us here at Arizona Retinal Specialists. You can call us at 623 – 474 – 3937 or visit our site to know about our office locations. 


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