Half of the injuries from fireworks occur in bystanders who are not directly handling the fireworks.  Additionally, 35% of those injured are children under the age of 15.  Of course, always use legal fireworks.

These statistics lead to the warning and precautions regarding the use of fireworks.  It is important to use safety eyewear when using fireworks. Use fireworks only as directed and make sure children are supervised by an adult.

Internal damage includes damage to the iris (colored part of the eye), the lens (resulting in cataract), or the retina (causing retinal tears or detachment).  Severe damage can include tearing a hole in the wall of the eye (ruptured globe) that can result in loss of the eye.

There is no better show on earth than a great display of fireworks.  It has been a part of our culture for more than two hundred years and generates a sense of patriotism in even the most jaded and skeptic among us.  There is also no greater threat to eye health and vision than a traumatic injury to the eye. 

As an eye surgeon, few things are more difficult than trying to save an eye that has been damaged and blinded by trauma.  The best tool for avoiding eye trauma remains prevention.

Fortunately, most eye trauma can be prevented.  It is important to protect the eyes with goggles or safety glasses when using fireworks.

Enjoy your summer, your 4th of July and enjoy healthy vision by using fireworks in a safe and responsible manner.