TAMPA, Fla. — Dr. Ramesh Ayyala is opening the University of South Florida's new Eye Institute at a very busy time.
Although many firework safety warnings involve protecting fingers and toes, it is injuries involving eyes that soar on Independence Day.
Ayyala says about 9,000 kids in the United States will harm their vision from playing with fireworks on July 4th.
“Leave fireworks to the professionals,” Ayyala says, knowing full well that a lot of people will not heed his warning. “If you’re bent on fireworks in your backyard, take precautions.”
The doctor says there are four things you can do to prevent firework-related eye injuries:
- “Even sparklers, you must wear goggles, some sort of eye protection,” says Ayyala.
- Do not shoot bottle rockets or throw fireworks at other people. It sounds like common sense, but Ayyala sees lots of kids wind up in the clinic for that dangerous reason.
- Beware of “duds.” Leave a firecracker alone when it does not go off. Do not touch it. “Duds” that eventually explode are a major cause of eye injuries.
- Have a bucket of water or hose handy to extinguish all fireworks. If you do not use water, do not pick up fireworks until the next day. Make sure those cherry bombs are out for good.