Protect Your Eyes During Fourth of July Celebrations

Fireworks-Related Eye Injuries Can Result in Permanent Vision Loss

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dear PSA Director,

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, during the month around the Fourth of July, an average of 200 people every day visit emergency rooms with fireworks related injuries. One in every six fireworks-related eye injuries results in permanent vision loss or blindness.  

Ophthalmologists – medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases and conditions – are urging the public to exercise caution during their celebrations.

Children age 15 and younger account for half of all fireworks eye injuries in the United States. Sparklers typically burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and cause about one-third of all fireworks injuries, including third-degree burns.  Errant bottle rockets can injure bystanders and cause eye lid lacerations, corneal abrasions, traumatic cataract, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, rupture of the eyeball, eye muscle damage and complete blindness.

For a safe Independence Day, the American Academy of Ophthalmology urges the public to be “Eye Smart” and follow these tips:

  • Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
  • Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
  • Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
  • If you find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police departments.
  • View fireworks from at least 500 feet away.

If you experience an eye injury during a fireworks accident, seek immediate medical help.  For more fireworks safety tips, visit www.geteyesmart.org.  To raise awareness about the importance of taking precautions around fireworks in your listening area, please place this PSA in heavy rotation between now and July 4, 2013.

Also attached for your use is a 911 recording of a 6-year-old child who had to undergo a cornea transplant, lens replacement and several other eye surgeries after lighting an M-80 firework that he had found in his home.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Sincerely,

Linda Apeles

American Academy of Ophthalmology                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

:30 PSA SCRIPT

DURING THE MONTH AROUND JULY FOURTH, AN AVERAGE OF 200 PEOPLE EACH DAY VISIT EMERGENCY ROOMS WITH FIREWORKS-RELATED INJURIES, AND ONE IN SIX FIREWORKS-RELATED EYE INJURIES RESULT IN PERMANENT VISION LOSS OR BLINDNESS. FOR A SAFE INDEPENDENCE DAY, THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPHTHALMOLOGY URGES THE PUBLIC TO NEVER LET CHILDREN PLAY WITH FIREWORKS AND VIEW FIREWORKS FROM AT LEAST 500 FEET AWAY. IF YOU SUSTAIN AN EYE INJURY, SEEK HELP FROM AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST, AN EYE MEDICAL DOCTOR, IMMEDIATELY. FOR MORE SAFETY TIPS VISIT: GETEYESMART.ORG.

 

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