It’s that time of year again in the UK when children and adults eagerly await Bonfire Night. From simple sparklers to the sounds and sights of rockets, families up and down the country will be enjoying community fireworks shows and their back garden bonfires.
But did you know that fireworks can damage your eyes? In the UK a staggering 4,500+ people in 2018 suffered serious firework related eye injuries, and some even lost their sight.
In this article we'll run through the simple steps you can take to ensure all the family stays safe on firework night.
How can fireworks hurt the eye?
Playing with fireworks can burn more than just your fingers, and where eyes are concerned, it's not just a simple burn.
In severe cases firework injuries can rupture the eyeball, cause chemical burns, corneal abrasions (scratches on the cornea), and retinal detachment where the retina comes away from the layer of the eye.
Common causes of injuries are firework ash or dust in the eye.
Discover more: common eye injuries and how to treat them
How to keep your eyes safe from fireworks
The safest way for a family to enjoy fireworks is to:
Attend a well organised display
Keep a safe distance!
Always follow the Firework Code
Supervise children at all times.
This short firework safety video by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) runs through the Firework Code:
Protecting your children from sparkler eye injury
Although they are a joy to watch, the not-so-innocent sparkler burns at temperatures of up to 2000°C, which is hot enough to burn metals.
To prevent any possible eye injuries, wear protective eye wear when handling or lighting fireworks, or in close proximity to fireworks and sparklers.
They should always be held at arm’s length, and never given to children under five. Always supervise your children when they are holding sparklers.
Firework eye injury first aid
Any eye injury caused by fireworks needs urgent medical attention. The quicker you seek help, the risk of serious long-term damage reduces.
Even if you have firework debris in the eye, remember that the eye should not be rinsed or rubbed as this may cause further damage.
Wait until you have sought medical help before taking any painkillers such as paracetamol.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you have a firework eye injury, please seek medical help immediately.