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June is Fireworks Safety Month

Don't Get Burned by Myths about "Harmless" Fireworks

Fireworks injure thousands every year, mostly children and bystanders.

Kapil G. Kapoor, MD. President of the Virginia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, shares some frightening statistics.

  • Over one third of fireworks related eye injuries result in permanent blindness.
  • Nearly 40% of fireworks related eye injuries occur in unsupervised youth under the age of 18.
  • Over 60% of the fireworks-related occur in bystanders.


Statistics and infographics courtesy of the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Falling for these four myths can result in serious injury, including blindness.

  • Myth #1: Consumer fireworks are harmless.. Fireworks can cause blinding burns, corneal abrasions or retinal detachment. If consumer fireworks are legal in your state, wear eye protection if you choose to use them.
  • Myth #2: Sparklers are made for kids and are not dangerous.. Do not let their small size fool you. Sparklers burn at over 2,000 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Myth #3: Duds are harmless. Do not try to relight faulty fireworks. Instead, soak the dud in water and throw it away.
  • Myth #4: Only those handling the fireworks are at risk. Most firework-related eye injuries happen to bystanders. Watch fireworks from at least five hundred feet away and make sure everyone is wearing eye protection.

“Most people just don’t see the harm in sparklers, spinners, firecrackers, and bottle rockets, and they learn too late the necessity of wearing eye protection,” said Dianna Seldomridge, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “It’s best to leave fireworks to the professionals. But if you choose to celebrate with fireworks, wear safety goggles and take necessary precautions to keep your family safe.”

If an eye injury does occur, seek medical attention right away. For more information on eye health, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart® website.

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