How to Keep Your Eyes Safe Around Fireworks

05 November 2020

Author: Alex Martins-Hesp

 Fireworks Eye Safety

Bonfire night may be a little different this year (thanks covid-19) so you might be planning to have a mini fireworks display of your own in the comfort of your garden. But while we're encouraged to remember the catchy 5th of November rhyme, we often overlook what we really need to remind ourselves for this time of year. Fireworks are arguably the definition of "beautiful yet deadly", and if not handled with care, you could find yourself losing an eye (or worse).

 

"But they are just fireworks...What could go wrong?"

Studies show that around 300 people suffer serious eye injuries as a result of accidents involving fireworks every year in the UK, and ten of those people lose their sight completely. You only have to be 18-years-old to purchase the colourful explosives legally, and if handled wrong, you could cause yourself or someone else serious injury or permanent vision loss. 

 

Not only can the classic firework rocket rupture the eyeball, it can also cause chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions and retinal detachment. So, if you would like advice on how to protect your eyes this 5th of November, listen up for our tips. 

 

Source: Hermes Rivera

 

Safety eyewear

Using protective eyewear such as goggles or safety glasses can reduce the risk of vision loss if a firework manages to hit you. Even if you're a spectator standing well back from nearby fireworks, it would be a smart idea to wear goggles just in case debris falls and gets in your eye.

 

You may think this is being a little "overprotective", but there have been unfortunate cases where spectators have been hit by explosives at public firework displays and suffered severe injuries. An 11-year-old boy was standing far back, behind the lines with his mother when a rogue rocket hit his face. He suffered horrendous burns to his right eye and had to be treated for reconstructive and stem cell surgery. A woman, aged 60, and an eight-year-old girl were injured as well during this display.

Source: Alexander Kagan

 

Did you know?

You can only set off fireworks until 1am on New Year's Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year. Bonfire night extends the curfew to midnight, but every other day you must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am.

 

Look away if you feel discomfort

Fireworks can create spectacular displays for our eyes to see but if you ever feel discomfort when watching them, look away. The blasts of intense light can sometimes be too bright for specific individuals to handle as their pupils have difficulties adjusting to the light. So if you ever feel this happening just have regular breaks of looking in other places, or look away completely. If you are feeling discomfort on a daily basis with bright light, you should book an appointment with your optometrist as soon as possible.

 

Handle fireworks with care

If you have chosen to physically handle fireworks or ignite them, be absolutely sure you are wearing the essential safety gear, including protective eyewear. A firework could malfunction and blow up too soon, which could seriously damage your eyes.

 

Always observe the Firework Code, so you know you are taking the right precautions to ensure your safety and everyone else. 

Source: Genessa Panainte

 

Did you know?

The law states you must not set off fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or public places. You can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to 6 months for using fireworks illegally. 


Source: Ethan Hoover

 

Avoid setting off fireworks when you are alone

Fireworks displays are usually enjoyed with a group of people, and for a good reason. If the worst-case scenario does happen and you get hit by a firework, you're going to need the help of another person to seek medical attention for yourself. Calling 999 when your eyes have just been wounded can be a somewhat tricky business, and it would be easier for everyone to have a pal on hand to do it for you.

 

What to do in case of emergency

Seek medical attention immediately. If you act quickly, it could minimise long-term damage and save your vision.

 

Do not touch or rinse the injured eye; it's best to wait for medical help. Avoid applying any medicines or creams to the eye until a specialist has said otherwise. If you do apply without seeking medical advice first, it could increase any damage and make it more difficult for a doctor to provide treatment.

 


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