Every year, in the UK, around 300 people suffer serious eye injuries as a result of accidents involving fireworks, and ten of them lose their sight. Fireworks can cause permanent eye damage by rupturing the eyeball or causing chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions and retinal detachment.
Always follow the Firework Code, and take special care of your eyes with these safety tips:
- Visit an organised display – it’s the safest way to enjoy fireworks.
- Wear appropriate protective eyewear when handling, lighting or in close proximity to fireworks. They can be worn over your regular glasses.
- Always hold sparklers at arm’s length – and dispose of them in a bucket of water. Never give sparklers to children under the age of five.
- Keep your distance while lighting fireworks and once they are lit – AT LEAST 25 metres from Category 3 fireworks.
- Never return to a lit firework – if you have lit a firework but it hasn’t gone off, do not return to it. It may have a damaged fuse and could explode at any time causing serious injury.
- Supervise children at all times – be vigilant to make sure they are never close to fireworks or left alone with sparklers.
- Buy fireworks that meet British Standards – ensure you buy your fireworks from a reputable retailer and that they conform to British Standards, these will be marked BS 7114 on the box.
If anyone in your party does suffer a firework eye injury:
- Seek medical attention immediately. Quick action can minimise long-term damage.
- Do not rub or rinse the injured eye, or apply any ointments to the eye area. If you do, it could increase any damage and make it more difficult for a specialist to provide treatment.