In Anticipation of July 4th Celebrations, Prevent Blindness Warns About the Impact of Fireworks on Eye Health

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NEW YORK—The 4th of July is right around the corner and as an influx of people have been setting off fireworks, Prevent Blindness is warning people about the impact of fireworks on healthy eyesight. A recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology found that more than 34,000 firework-related ocular injuries were seen in U.S. emergency departments during the 19-year study period. Ocular burns were the most frequent type of eye injury from fireworks, and bottle rockets were a common firework type that disproportionately caused serious ocular injury, including ruptured globes.

The latest annual report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that there were an estimated 7,300 fireworks-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms from June 21 to July 21, 2019 alone. Furthermore, a 2018 report from the commission found that children aged 10 to 14 years old had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries, while teens aged 15 to 19 years old had the second highest estimated rate.

In light of these studies, Prevent Blindness is urging all consumers to celebrate the holiday safely without using fireworks.

“There are so many ways for families to celebrate Independence Day safely without using fireworks,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We urge everyone to avoid fireworks and spend the 4th of July with family and friends, instead of in the emergency room.”

Prevent Blindness offers alternative ideas to celebrate the holiday safely:

• Decorate 4th of July treats using white frosting, blueberries and raspberries or strawberries.

• Make paper rockets by using paper towel rolls, paint or markers, streamers and child-safe glue. Make pinwheels or wind socks with an Independence Day theme.

• Create a patriotic wreath, pasting red, white and blue stars in a circle. Hang it from a door or window.

• Paint flower pots in red, white and blue and plant new seeds or festive flowers.

• Decorate bicycles, scooters and wagons in red, white, and blue. Have a family parade.

• Hang decorative string lights and have a dance party with patriotic music.

• Design and decorate T-shirts and hats using glow in the dark paints. Add puffy paints and glitter to make them sparkle.

• After the sun goes down, wrap flashlights in colored cellophane to provide fun shades of light.

• Purchase non-toxic glow-sticks, ropes and jewelry that can safely light the night for kids.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, Massachusetts is the only state that bans all consumer fireworks, while Illinois, Ohio and Vermont allow only wire or wood stick sparklers and other novelty items. Across the country, many ordinances vary within each state and between different municipalities.