THURSDAY, July 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- If you and your
family like fireworks, the best way to enjoy them is by watching
displays staged by professionals, according to eye doctors.
In 2012, about 8,700 Americans were injured by fireworks, and
more than 1,000 of those cases involved eye injuries, according to
the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most of the
fireworks-related injuries occurred in the 30-day period before and
after the Fourth of July.
While you may be tempted to put on your own show, it's "better
to just leave the fireworks alone and go to a show ... and let the
professionals do it. That's the safest thing," Dr. Jay McCollum, an
ophthalmologist and director of emergency services at the
University of Alabama at Birmingham Callahan Eye Hospital, said in
a university news release.
Dr. Priscilla Fowler, an assistant professor in the university's
ophthalmology department and director of the cornea service,
agrees. "Being a cornea specialist, I've seen too many injuries
related to fireworks," she said in the news release. "And many of
these occur in children and innocent bystanders and result in
permanent vision loss."
If you decide to have fireworks at home anyway, the doctors
offered a number of tips to reduce the risk of injury, burns and
eye damage. Read and follow all manufacturer's instructions. Do not use
fireworks that have no instructions or product labels. These
fireworks may have been made illegally and may be unsafe.Light fireworks on a clean, flat surface away from the house or
flammable materials.Light only one item at a time. Never try to re-light fireworks
that did not ignite or explode the first time.Keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher present in case
of fire.Never throw fireworks at other people, carry fireworks in your
pocket, shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers, experiment
with or modify fireworks, make your own fireworks, or use bottle
rockets.Never allow children to play with fireworks, even sparklers.
Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees F, which is hot enough to melt
gold.In the event of an eye injury, do not touch, rub or press on
the injured eye. Seek immediate medical care.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has more about