Firework lovers should watch displays prepared by professionals to avoid the risk of eye problems, eye-care experts suggest.
Many people are tempted to buy their own fireworks, but it is better to watch them at a professionally organised show, according to Dr Jay McCollum, an ophthalmologist and director of emergency services at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Callahan Eye Hospital. Another specialist, Dr Priscilla Fowler, an assistant professor at the same university, said she has seen too many eye injuries related to fireworks. Unfortunately, many of the injured individuals are either children or innocent bystanders, who can end up with permanent vision problems, Dr Fowler said.
For those who decide to have fireworks at home, the two specialists have provided some tips on how to use them safely and minimise injury hazards in the process.
First of all, when using fireworks you should carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions. If there are no instructions or labels the fireworks should not be used, according to the specialists. The pyrotechnics should be lighted on a clean, flat surface that is far away from houses and flammable objects.
Never attempt to relight a firework that has failed to go off, and have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby in case of fire. Never throw fireworks at other people and never carry them in a pocket, shoot them from metal or glass vessels, modify fireworks or use bottle rockets. Small children must not be allowed to play even with sparklers, because they can reach extremely high temperatures.
If an eye injury occurs, seek immediate professional help and do not rub or press on the injured eye.