The Fourth of July: The Busiest Day of the Year for ERs and Eye Surgeons
SAN DIEGO, CALIF (July 1st, 2015) - Every year on the fourth of July, there is an average of more than 9,000 injuries in the U.S. caused by fireworks. According to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately one in eight of these injuries harm the eyes. Common fireworks-related incidents include burns, lacerations, abrasions, optic nerve damage, detached retinas, and - most disturbing of all - ruptured eyeballs.
"These injuries are not what you might assume, the careless mishandling of fireworks by people who don’t realize how dangerous they can be," said Sandy T. Feldman, a top ophthalmologist and LASIK specialist based in San Diego. "Unfortunately, the injuries all too often happen to innocent bystanders, including many children."
Recent statistics suggest that 75% of all eye-related injuries on Independence Day happen to children and teens under the age of 15.
"The fourth of July is a wonderful celebration, but it’s also one of the busiest days of the year for emergency room physicians and eye surgeons," said Dr. Feldman. "Even sparklers, which kids love and many parents consider harmless, account for the majority of eye injuries in preschool children."
More critical statistics:
- 25% of fireworks-related eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness
- Bottle rockets account for 2/3 of all fireworks-related injuries, and over half of all fireworks-related eye injuries
- Sparklers can cause third-degree burns
Dr. Feldman believes July 4th eye injuries are largely preventable and offers the following safety tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology:
- Opt for public fireworks displays rather than purchasing fireworks for home use
- Stay at least 500 feet away from explosives at professional fireworks shows
- Never touch unexploded fireworks
- Never let young children play with fireworks of any type, even sparklers
- Anyone who handles fireworks should always wear protective eyewear (proper goggles, not regular prescription glasses or sunglasses)
"Parents especially need to know that sparklers are not toys. As benign as they might appear, sparklers can burn more than a thousand degrees hotter than boiling water," advised Dr. Feldman. "Take precautions and be aware of the risks when it comes to any type of fireworks. And if an eye injury does occur over the holiday, be sure to seek medical attention immediately."
About Sandy T. Feldman, MD
Sandy T. Feldman, MD is the Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center - voted best LASIK center in San Diego by CityBeat Magazine in 2013 - and has successfully performed more than 20,000 refractive procedures. Her numerous awards include "Top Doc San Diego" and the Goldline Award, an honor granted to only 10 laser eye care providers in the U.S. each year, and she has been profiled in Forbes, Newsweek, and other respected publications. Dr. Feldman is a fellow of the prestigious American College of Ophthalmic Surgeons, as well as a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. For more information, please visit clearvieweyes.com.
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