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Red, White & Blur? Eye Injuries and the 4th of July

POSTED ON June 29, 2010

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Cookouts, parades, fireworks, candy, and sparklers: all things related to the 4th of July, Independence Day, which will be celebrated by Americans this weekend.  A fun holiday celebrating America’s long-time Independence and freedom can often be the most dangerous ...

Fireworks can be extremely dangerous if used improperly especially to the eye.  Photo courtesy of: rinaz.net/2006/08/jam-jam-human-jam/Cookouts, parades, fireworks, candy, and sparklers: all things related to the 4th of July, Independence Day, which will be celebrated by Americans this weekend.  A fun holiday celebrating America’s long-time Independence and freedom can often be the most dangerous for children and adults alike.  Many celebrations include fireworks, which can ignite unexpectedly or leave harmful remnants on the ground that are too enticing for children to pick up, causing serious injuries.  According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2008, 5,000 Americans went to the emergency room during the July 4th holiday with 1,000 of these injuries being eye injuries.  Eye injuries included lacerations, contusions, debris in the eyes and burns.

Injuries like these and others can be prevented this weekend by attending firework displays conducted only by professionals and creating fun yet safe events for your family surrounding the holiday.  Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization, offers these tips to parents wanting to ensure a safer 4th of July holiday for their children:

• Make 4th of July rockets by using paper towel rolls, paint, streamers and paper cement.
• Make your own firecracker sounds by popping bubble wrap.
• Purchase non-toxic glo-sticks, glo-ropes and glo-jewelry that can safely light the night for kids.
• Have children design and decorate their own t-shirts and hats using glow in the dark paints.  Add puffy paints and glitter to make them sparkle.
• Create your own noisemakers by banging wooden spoons on pots and pans.  Search your house for horns, whistles and bells and other items to create a marching band.

If you do choose to ignite fireworks yourself this weekend, wear your glasses to protect your eyes.  Specifically shatter resistant polycarbonate lenses or trivex lenses will protect eyes from harmful sparks or objects that can be created from lighting fireworks.  Lenses such as these are perfect for children and active adults.  To see if these lenses would work for you or a family member visit one of our eye care doctors at any of our 20 locations in Indiana.

Remember your eye wear this weekend whether it is goggles for the pool, sunglasses for outside or glasses for igniting fireworks, protecting your eyes is just as important as protecting your skin.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July from Dr. Tavel!

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