Baltimore Washington Eye Center Announces Fireworks Eye Safety Awareness Month
By Dr. Arturo E. Betancourt
Medical Director of the Baltimore Washington Eye Center
Baltimore Washington Eye Center wishes to announce that Prevent Blindness America has designated July as National Fireworks Eye Safety Awareness Month. The Fourth of July brings to mind visions of parades, cookouts and of course, fireworks.
Contrary to what you might think, there is no safe way for nonprofessionals to use fireworks, and the risk of catastrophic eye injury is real and not trivial, said Baltimore Ophthalmologist Arturo Betancourt, M.D., medical director of Baltimore Washington Eye Center.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks are involved in approximately 10,000 injuries per year. Of those, two-thirds occurred during the one-month period surrounding the Fourth of July holiday.
It is important to note that eyes were the second most commonly injured part of the body, males were injured three times more than females, and approximately 25 percent of injuries are to children under 15.
Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July. But there are precautions parents can take to prevent these injuries. The best defense against kids suffering severe eye injuries and burns is to not let kids play with any fireworks.
Do not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type. Protect yourself, your family and your friends by avoiding fireworks. Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous.
In the event an eye accident and injury does occur, do not rub the eye. Do not attempt to rinse out the eye - this can be even more damaging than rubbing. Do not apply pressure to the eye itself - but protect the eye from further contact with any item, including the child's hand. Do not stop for medicine! Over-the-counter pain relievers will not do much to relieve pain. Aspirin should never be given to children and ibuprofen can thin the blood, increasing bleeding. Take the child to the emergency room at once.
Do not apply ointments or drops. They may not be sterile and may make the area around the eye slippery and harder for the doctor to examine.
Once you are seen in the emergency room, please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, as we always have an eye doctor on call to provide consultation and continued care for you.
Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed, but you will enjoy them much more knowing your family is safe. Take extra precautions this Fourth of July and your holiday will be a blast.
Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye-care practice serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas that is staffed by a team of ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma as well as contact lenses, eyeglasses, eyewear and optical services.
For more information about eye injuries and eye care please visit us at www.bweyecenter.com or visit http://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreWashingtonEyeCenter