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Leave Fireworks to Professionals This Fourth of July.

The Florida Society of Ophthalmology (FSO) Offers Tips for Fireworks Safety

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Each Fourth of July, thousands are injured from using consumer fireworks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 9,000 fireworks-related injuries happen each year. Of these, nearly half are head-related injuries with nearly 30 percent causing harm to the eyes. One-fourth of fireworks eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

July is Fireworks Eye Safety Awareness Month, and the Florida Society of Ophthalmology (FSO), the preeminent statewide professional association for medical and osteopathic doctors who specialize in vision care, wants to remind consumers to leave fireworks to professionals.

"Too many Fourth of July celebrations are ruined because a child has to be rushed to the emergency room after a fireworks accident," said Ranya Habash, MD, an FSO board member and ophthalmologist for the West Boca Eye Center. "Potentially blinding injuries can be avoided if families attend a professional public fireworks display instead of putting on a home fireworks display."

Children are the most common victims of firework accidents, with those fifteen-years-old or younger accounting for half of all fireworks eye injuries in the United States. For children under the age of five, seemingly innocent sparklers account for one-third of all fireworks injuries. Sparklers can burn at nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause a third-degree burn.

Among the most serious injuries are abrupt trauma to the eye from bottle rockets. The rockets fly erratically, often injuring bystanders. Injuries from bottle rockets can include eye lid lacerations, corneal abrasions, traumatic cataract, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, rupture of the eyeball, eye muscle damage, and complete blindness.

For a safe and healthy Independence Day celebration, the FSO urges observance of the following tips:

* Never let children play with fireworks of any type.

* View fireworks from a safe distance: at least 500 feet away, or up to .25 mile for best viewing.

* Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.

* Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.

* Follow directives given by event ushers or public safety personnel.

* If you find unexploded fireworks remains, do not touch them. Contact your fire or police departments.

* If you get an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical help immediately.

The Florida Society of Ophthalmology (FSO) has a rich history of serving patients since its founding in 1939 as the Florida Society of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology. Today, the organization represents more than 500 physician members throughout the state and is focused on advancing patient care and protecting the medical specialty of ophthalmology. For more information, please visit the FSO website at www.mdeye.org.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 30, 2010
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