During this time of year, the Las Vegas sky is filled with fireworks throughout the entire valley, from the large Fourth of July displays on the Strip to the many not-so-legal efforts in the suburbs. The last thing we want is for that enjoyment to be marred by eye injuries, but unfortunately, this happens far too often. The Abrams team offers the following advice to keep your summer holiday safe:
Purchase Legal and Approved Fireworks
Starting a few weeks before the Fourth of July, countless parking lots begin to get filled with fireworks stands operated by groups raising money. These fireworks sold have been approved by the State of Nevada and by Fire Marshals from local areas such as Las Vegas, Henderson and Pahrump. It’s a good idea to buy age appropriate fireworks from these sources.
Handle All Explosives With Care
Fireworks might just seem like harmless lights and sounds to anyone who hasn’t been injured by them, but what we need to remember is that everything from Roman candles to mortars is actually an explosive. They fling tiny pieces of shrapnel in every direction at high speeds when they go off, so it’s critical to remain a safe distance away.
Yes, Even the Sparklers are Dangerous
What about firecrackers and sparklers? Even these are far from safe to have near children’s eyes. Sparklers burn hotter than 1200°F. To minimize risk of injury, make sure any children under the age of 12 are under close supervision while using them, don’t run while holding them, always hold them at arm’s length from your body, and never use more than one at a time. And protective eye wear is strongly recommended.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to skip doing them at home and only go to professional shows at local resorts. However, there are several safety rules you can follow if you do purchase fireworks to set off at home:
- Read all the labels on your fireworks and carefully follow any safety instructions. Do not take fireworks apart or alter them in any way.
- Wear protective goggles at all times. Once shrapnel starts flying, goggles can be the difference between permanent blindness and walking away with no injury.
- Closely supervise all young children around fireworks. Ideally, you should keep children under age 12 away from all fireworks – again including sparklers and firecrackers.
Fireworks Eye Injury Statistics
Thousands of Americans are injured by fireworks every year. 1,300 people went to emergency rooms specifically for eye injuries in 2014 alone, which is especially troubling for Dr. Jack Abrams and Dr. Tapan Shah, who both serve as eye surgeons in several Las Vegas hospital emergency rooms. The majority of ER-treated injuries are sustained by innocent bystanders, not just careless firework operators. Just one spark or piece of shrapnel is capable of causing permanent blindness, so make sure this doesn’t happen to you or your loved ones! Be careful of your surroundings, and that of your loved ones, at all times when fireworks are being set off.
In Case Of Injury
Even when we follow all the rules, accidents can still happen. If you or someone you know does sustain an eye injury this 4th of July, don’t rub, rinse out, or apply pressure or any ointment to the injured eye, because this could cause more damage. Instead, go straight to the emergency room. The sooner the eye gets treatment, the better the chances are for recovery. After your emergency room visit, make sure to schedule a follow up appointment at the Abrams Eye Institute so we can continue your treatment by calling 702-304-9494.