Ophthalmologists Issue Warnings About Dangers of Fireworks

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Doctors at Wills Eye Hospital Remind Independence Day Revelers that Fireworks are Not Toys

'When these devices are burning at around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, consumer fireworks – including those innocent-looking sparklers – can quickly cause life-changing injuries,' Wills Eye Hospital Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, Dr. Julia Haller, said.

With the Fourth of July holiday just days away, ophthalmologists at Wills Eye Hospital are reminding the public that fireworks are not toys and can lead to devastating eye injuries. Despite the popularity of consumer fireworks, the devices can cause blindness and disfigurement and each year they prompt severe injuries across the nation including corneal burns, ruptured or lacerated eyeballs, and retinal detachments.

“The public needs to be aware that consumer-bought fireworks can cause very serious injuries and burns,” said Dr. Julia Haller, ophthalmologist-in-chief at Wills Eye Hospital. “When these devices are burning at around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, store-bought fireworks – including those innocent-looking sparklers – can quickly have harmful consequences for your eyesight and cause life-changing injuries,” Haller said.

Doctors at Wills Eye Hospital are advising those who are celebrating with fireworks throughout the Fourth of July holiday and year-round to attend professional shows instead of igniting consumer fireworks. For those who attend public shows, they recommend viewers keep a safe distance of at least 500 feet at all times and to never touch unexploded display fireworks.

For those who decide to purchase consumer fireworks, the following safety tips should be closely adhered to: always keep fireworks, including sparklers, out of children’s hands; always wear protective eyewear and ensure that bystanders are also wearing eye protection; never light professional-grade fireworks, and if injured by any type of explosive, seek medical attention immediately.

“Keep in mind that fireworks are not toys, they are devices that can cause devastating and, in some cases, irreparable eye injuries,” said Dr. Haller.

Wills Eye Hospital is once again preparing for what can be the busiest time of the year for its emergency room with fireworks-related injuries. The Wills Eye Emergency Room at Jefferson is the region's only emergency care eye center. Eye emergencies may range from infections to trauma which, if left untreated, can lead to loss of vision and other health problems. The hospital’s state-of-the-art emergency care facility is open 365 days a year, 7 days a week and has a full staff to manage all eye emergencies.

About Wills Eye Hospital
Wills Eye Hospital is a global leader in ophthalmology, established in 1832 as the nation’s first hospital specializing in eye care. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Wills Eye as one of America’s top ophthalmology centers since the survey began in 1990. Wills Eye is a premier training site for all levels of medical education. Its resident and post-graduate training programs are among the most competitive in the country. Wills provides the full range of primary and subspecialty eye care for improving and preserving sight, including cataract, cornea, emergency care, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, ocular oncology, oculoplastics, pathology, pediatric ophthalmology and ocular genetics, refractive surgery and retina. To learn more, please visit http://www.willseye.org.

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Cathy Moss
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Wills Eye Hospital
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