Protect your eyes, get a bang out of professional fireworks

A fireworks display at home may sound like a fun way to celebrate Independence Day, but amateur shows, including the backyard variety, can be dangerous and vision-threatening, said Dr. Preston Blomquist, an ophthalmologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. “We have seen people lose vision and lose eyes,” he said, adding that bottle rockets tend to cause most of the injuries. “The rockets fly erratically and the bottles or cans used to launch the rockets can explode, creating shrapnel.” Besides showering spectators with glass and metal fragments, bottle rockets can also strike the eye directly. Anyone who suffers a fireworks-related eye injury should immediately go to a hospital emergency room. There are about 11,000 fireworks-related injuries every year, with almost 2,200 of those affecting the eyes. Consumer fireworks are responsible for one-third of all eye injuries. “Go watch a professional fireworks event,” warned Dr. Blomquist; “don’t do this at home.”

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