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HealthDay News - Eye Doctors Offer Fireworks Safety Tips

July 03, 2014

THURSDAY, July 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- If you and your family like fireworks, the best way to enjoy them is by watching displays staged by professionals, according to eye doctors.

In 2012, about 8,700 Americans were injured by fireworks, and more than 1,000 of those cases involved eye injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most of the fireworks-related injuries occurred in the 30-day period before and after the Fourth of July.

While you may be tempted to put on your own show, it's "better to just leave the fireworks alone and go to a show ... and let the professionals do it. That's the safest thing," Dr. Jay McCollum, an ophthalmologist and director of emergency services at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Callahan Eye Hospital, said in a university news release.

Dr. Priscilla Fowler, an assistant professor in the university's ophthalmology department and director of the cornea service, agrees. "Being a cornea specialist, I've seen too many injuries related to fireworks," she said in the news release. "And many of these occur in children and innocent bystanders and result in permanent vision loss."

If you decide to have fireworks at home anyway, the doctors offered a number of tips to reduce the risk of injury, burns and eye damage.

More information

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has more about fireworks.