Firework Eye Safety Alert
Every year 10 people in the UK lose their sight and 300 people suffer serious eye injuries as a result of accidents caused by fireworks. And, its not just children larking about that are at risk – three quarters (73%) of serious ocular traumas are sustained by adults and most (45 per cent) occur at private parties (1,2).
Rockets take first place in the danger stakes accounting for more than a third (36%) of all serious eye injuries, but also flying high on the dangerous firework list is the innocent sparkler. Although sparklers are often thought to be one of the safest fireworks, they burn at temperatures up to 2000ºC – hot enough to melt gold.
Follow the Eyecare Trust’s SPARKLER code for a safe and injury free Bonfire Night:
Shield your eyes with protective eyewear when lighting fireworks
Plunge sparklers into a bucket of cold water as soon as they have burnt out
Attend organised displays wherever possible
Read the instructions on the fireworks with a torch and follow them carefully (ensure your fireworks comply with the British Safety Standard (BS 7114)
Keep all fireworks in a closed metal box and only light one at a time
Leave fireworks that fail to go off – never return to a lit firework
Ensure everyone stands a safe distance away – AT LEAST 25 metres from Category 3 fireworks
Remove all debris and flammable objects (including plants and trees) from your firework display area
Kelly Plahay, Optometrist and Vice Chairman of The Eyecare Trust says: “Eye damage caused by fireworks is so often avoidable and can lead to permanently reduced vision or even blindness, so this year the Trust is urging people to take extra care of their eyes and follow the SPARKLER safety code.”
If anyone in your party does suffer a firework eye injury:
• Seek medical attention immediately. Quick action can minimise long-term damage.
• Do not rub or rinse the injured eye, or apply any ointments to the eye area. If you do, it could increase any damage and make it more difficult for a specialist to provide treatment.
1. Eye (2008) 22, 944–947
2. Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file30136.pdf