Fireworks Safety & the 4th of July
What is the ophthalmologists' most dreaded holiday? I have no doubt that if I polled pediatric ophthalmologists, and probably ophthalmologists in general, that the overwhelming majority would answer the 4th of July. Does that surprise you? I can assure you that I myself and most all the ophthalmologists I know are very patriotic and love to celebrate the 4th of July as much as you do. So what is the problem? Fireworks.
Most of us either during our training or sometime during our practice have seen horrific eye injuries suffered as a result of fireworks. Many of these injuries happen to children and may result in lifelong blindness, terrible pain, and even the total loss of an eye. Parents are often more careful with supervising birthday candles than they are fireworks. Even something as seemingly harmless as a sparkler reaches intense levels of heat and can produce devastating eye injuries if an unfortunate accident happens or children are not adequately supervised.
As a college student, I watched and even briefly participated in a "competitive fireworks display" in which fireworks were shot at each other. I can tell you that I am not proud of that by any means and am so thankful that neither I nor one of my friends that day were seriously injured. But it can happen, and it can happen to anyone, just ask your favorite eye doctor.
We ophthalmologists certainly don't want to be kill-joys! We want you to have tons of fun celebrating the birthday of our nation. But please do so with common sense, with adequate eye protection, and keep close eyes on your children! Please pass the word on to others.
We wish you & yours an Eye-Safe & Happy 4th of July!