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June 21, 2019

Unless you live in Massachusetts, most all states allow sparklers and consumer fireworks. But did you know fireworks caused nearly *13,000 injuries in 2017? The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers, however 14% were eye injuries. “Most all of these injuries are preventable,” says Dr. Stewart Shofner. So many take their vision for granted or has the opinion that fireworks such as sparklers or bottle rockets are safe.

Children age 15 and under accounted for 36% of the total injuries, according to the commission's report. And half of the injuries requiring an emergency room visit were to people age 20 or younger. Younger children should not be allowed to play with any fireworks, as they may not understand the danger involved with fireworks. A responsible adult should closely supervise older children while using fireworks.

Even fireworks such as sparklers can be dangerous, as they burn at more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. In the most severe cases, fireworks can rupture the globe of the eye, cause chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions and retinal detachment — all of which can cause permanent eye damage and vision loss.

People (including children) who are not handling fireworks themselves are in as much danger as the people actually lighting fireworks. It’s strongly recommended to enjoy fireworks a minimum of 500 feet away…save some money, protect your vision and leave it up to the professionals. Among Nashville’s big “Let Freedom Sing” event held downtown, there are many other areas of town that offer a wonderful fireworks show the whole family can enjoy.

If an eye injury from fireworks occurs, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends it should be considered a medical emergency and strongly suggests the following:

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Do not rub your eyes.
  • Do not rinse your eyes.
  • Do not apply pressure.
  • Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
  • Do not apply ointments unless directed by a doctor.

We hope you and your family have a wonderful and safe Independence Day celebration. If you or a loved one is experiencing any vision changes or impairment, contact Shofner Vision Center online to schedule a comprehensive exam or call (615) 340-4733.

*Statistics provided by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's annual fireworks injury report.


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