OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The July 4 holiday is fast approaching as fireworks went on sale Tuesday in Omaha.
Although fireworks are fun, eye doctors remind the public of the serious risk of injury.
Dr. Rao Chundury sees it far too often.
“The 4th of July is probably ophthalmologists’ least favorite holiday. We see all kinds of eye injuries: from minor injuries, like small scrapes and scratches to the eyelids, to very serious injuries. By the time a patient comes to me, it’s usually very serious. So we see a lot of terrible trauma caused by fireworks.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2020 more than 15,000 injuries treated in emergency rooms involved fireworks. About 15% of these injuries involved the eyes.
“Unfortunately, every year I deal with one to two patients who completely lose their sight, or actually lose their eye,” says Dr. Chundury, eye surgeon at Truhlsen Eye Institute, Nebraska Medicine.
Even a small sparkler can do serious damage.
“All it takes is a small fragment of the sparkler to come loose. A sparkler burns at around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, a brief moment with the eyelid or the eye can cause quite serious burns. We see many wounded with Roman candles and mortars. These are probably the most serious injuries,” says Dr. Chundury.
That’s why UNMC, Children’s Nebraska Medicine and the Truhlsen Eye Institute are teaming up to raise awareness. Now, during the holidays, they offer free special glasses to everyone.
Moreover, the safety message goes beyond the holidays.
“We see a lot of grinding mishaps, a lot of construction mishaps, flying nails, etc. So you can reuse them and protect your eyes,” says Dr. Chundury.
Along with using goggles, Dr. Chundury says another way to stay safe is to follow fireworks instructions closely.
The free Safety Glasses are now available for anyone to pick up at the following locations below.
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