Ophthalmologists warn that you should be extra careful about fireworks on July 4 this Independence Day.

The Florida Association of Ophthalmologists And American Academy of Ophthalmologists are raising alarm bells about the potential for eye damage from setting off fireworks and other firework displays on America’s most patriotic day. Eye care professionals are again stressing the potential for damage to vision from setting off what may seem like less dangerous fireworks.

“Most people don’t see the dangers of sparklers, spinners, fireworks and rockets, and they learn too late that wearing eye protection is necessary,” said Dianna Seldomridgeclinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

“It’s best to leave fireworks to the professionals. But if you choose to celebrate with fireworks, wear safety glasses and take all necessary precautions to keep your family safe.”

The eye care organizations are also reminding Americans that there are many myths about fireworks. And they want to dispel those myths on Independence Day.

Here are some tips from eye care professionals:

Myth 1: Consumer fireworks are harmlessFireworks can cause eye injuries, such as chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions or retinal detachment. If you live in a state where consumer fireworks are legal and plan to use them, wear eye protection.

Myth 2: Sparklers are made for children and are not dangerous. Don’t let their small size fool you; sparklers burn at over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot enough to melt certain metals.

Myth 3: Duds are harmless. Malfunctioning fireworks should be treated with caution. Never look into the barrel of a firework and make sure you point it away from others. Do not attempt to relight malfunctioning fireworks. Instead, immerse them in water and throw them away.

Myth 4: Only those handling the fireworks are at riskMost fireworks-related eye injuries occur during bystandersView fireworks from at least 150 meters away and ensure everyone wears eye protection.

“Last year, more than 6,000 fireworks-related injuries were treated in emergency departments in the U.S. around the Fourth of July period, and eyes are among the most commonly injured body parts,” said Megan Scott Carltonmember of the board of directors of the Florida Society of Ophthalmology and owner of Palm Valley Eye Care & Surgeons in Ponte Vedra Beach.

“There are many myths surrounding consumer fireworks and it’s important to understand all the risks before deciding how to celebrate Independence Day this year.”

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