We love a good fireworks party- we are hoping to squeeze in at least two public displays this week and will also be having a fireworks party with friends and family at the weekend- any excuse for a party! Despite all the fun, I can’t help but keep my health and safety head on. Fireworks week is a particularly busy time for eye departments up and down the country. Every year 10 people in the UK lose their sight and 300 people suffer serious eye injuries as a result of accidents caused by fireworks. And, it’s not just children larking about that are at risk, three quarters (73%) of serious ocular traumas are sustained by adults and most (45%) occur at private parties.
Interestingly at a recent New Year’s celebration in Iceland we were surprised to see ALL the children in the audience and some of the adults sporting safety glasses- maybe not such a crazy idea if it prevents injury. This leads me nicely onto letting you know that, as eye care professionals, we are not just here to check the health of your eyes and improve your vision but also help protect it. We are able to offer you advice on all sorts of eye protection, whether that be for sports or work. If you have an occupation that involves ocular hazards your company may even pay for prescription eye protection for you. If you partake in sports such as squash, cycling, cricket or water sports speak to Alisdair or Gill about how we can best protect your eyes whilst still giving you excellent vision. Sports goggles, contact lenses and prescription eye protection are available for all ages. You can find out more on our website www.optometrists.co.uk/examinations/Sports_Vision/
For more advice on how to stay safe this bonfire night please see www.saferfireworks.com
Follow the Eyecare Trust’s SPARKLER code for a safe and injury free Bonfire Night:
Shield your eyes with protective eyewear when lighting fireworks
Plunge sparklers into a bucket of cold water as soon as they have burnt out
Attend properly organised displays wherever possible
Read the instructions on the fireworks with a torch and follow them carefully
Keep all fireworks in a closed metal box and only light one at a time
Leave fireworks that fail to go off – never return to a lit firework
Ensure everyone stands a safe distance away when the fireworks are going off
Remove all debris and flammable objects from your firework display area
By following the SPARKLER code you can enjoy the Guy Fawkes and protect your sight.
Rockets take first place in the danger stakes, but also flying high on the dangerous firework list is the innocent sparkler. Although sparklers are often thought to be one of the safest fireworks, they burn at temperatures up to 2000ºC - hot enough to melt gold - and are responsible for ten per cent of firework-related eye injuries. When they have finished burning, the tip can remain hot for a minute or two.
If anyone in your party does suffer a firework eye injury:
• Seek medical attention immediately, even for seemingly mild injuries. Quick action can minimise long-term damage.
We hope you have a great bonfire night.
Kathryn & Alisdair Buchanan