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Keep Your Eyes Safe this Summer!
Celebrate Safely

Itís that time of year again when Americans love to celebrate with cookouts, pool parties, and fireworks. When the last burger has been eaten, and the sun sinks below the horizon, for many revelers, itís fireworks time.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) is a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissionís National Fireworks Safety Partnership. The AOA suggests that those who attend public displays presented by pyrotechnics professionals enjoy the safety of the shows, as well as the beauty. Unfortunately, many prefer to put on their own fireworks displays, and thousands of these hands-on partiers suffer serious injury every year. They endure severe burns, loss of fingers, eye injuries, and even blindness, among other wounds.

The eyes are very susceptible to fireworks accidents. Should an eye injury occur, the sufferer should seek professional help immediately, regardless of how serious or mild the injury seems to be. Do not touch the eye area. Protect it from pressure and keep the area clean. Seek immediate professional assistance. If you do attend or participate in setting off a family or neighborís fireworks display, take note of the risk and do your best to prevent accidents and protect yourself and others.

  • Read the fireworks labels carefully and follow all directions. Theyíre there to protect you.

  • Keep children far away from the lighting area.

  • Keep a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a pail of water, and a garden hose nearby.

  • Wear safety goggles to safeguard your eyes.

  • Wear thick garden or rubber gloves to protect yourself from burns or wounds in the event the fireworks donít work properly and explode prematurely.

  • Despite the warm weather, wear a shirt with long sleeves to protect your skin from possible burns.

  • Light the fireworks on a flat, stable surface away from other people, animals, houses, and flammable materials.

  • Light only one display at a time.

  • Keep unlit fireworks a good distance away from the lighting area so that they donít accidentally ignite.

  • ...allow children to play with the unused fireworks.

  • ...give children sparklers. They can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause severe burns.

  • ...use fireworks that have no labels.

  • ...make your own fireworks.

  • ...carry any fireworks in your pockets.

  • ...aim or throw fireworks at other people, animals, or objects.

  • ...try to re-light a firework that does not seem to function properly. It could go off unexpectedly in your face. Instead, soak the dud in a pail of water for 15 or 20 minutes, and then dispose in the garbage. Follow the same procedures with other fireworks, even after they have been set off. Following these instructions will make it much more likely for everyone to have an enjoyable and safe season.

Copyright © American Optometric Association. The American Optometric Association (AOA) represents the nationís largest group of primary eye care providers. Member optometrists work to improve the quality and availability of eye care for all Americans. Reprinted with permission.

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