SOURCE: University of Alabama at Birmingham, news release, June 17, 2016
THURSDAY, June 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Americans love fireworks, especially on the Fourth of July, but experts warn they can be dangerous if not used safely.
About 10,500 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospitals in 2014, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. And nearly 400 people lose sight in one or both eyes every year due to fireworks injuries.
Dr. Priscilla Fowler is an assistant professor in the department of ophthalmology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "I've seen too many injuries related to fireworks, and many of these occur in children and innocent bystanders, and result in permanent vision loss," Fowler said in a university news release.
And Dr. Jay McCollum, director of emergency services at the university's Eye Hospital, suggested that "it's better to just leave the fireworks alone and go to a show . . . and let the professionals do it. That's the safest thing."
If you do use fireworks at home, the eye doctors have some safety tips:
If a fireworks-related eye injury occurs: seek medical attention immediately; do not rub or rinse your eyes, and do not apply pressure; do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye; do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has more on fireworks.