Eye Injury a July Fourth Safety Reminder

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By Brenda Goodman, MA
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD

June 28, 2017 -- This is a good reminder to wear eye protection before you light any fireworks this weekend: A 44-year-old man lost sight in one eye after a firecracker exploded near his face while he was trying to light it.

The man's case -- along with dramatic photos of the eye damage -- was published in this week's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The explosion sent shards of the explosives into both eyes. His right eye collapsed -- what doctors call a "globe rupture." Despite surgery, it never recovered.

His left eye was pitted by the damage. He was treated with antibiotics and lubricating eyedrops, and 3 months later, the sight in that eye had improved.

More than 11,000 injuries related to fireworks were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2016, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Children under age 15 accounted for about a third of them.

Most of those injuries happen around the July Fourth holiday.

SOURCES: New England Journal of Medicine: "Eye Injury from a Firecracker." Consumer Product Safety Commission: "2016 Fireworks Annual Report."

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