Summertime Safety: The Ocular Risks of Fireworks, UV Rays, and More

Summer isn’t over yet! People are still soaking up the last days of fun before the official fall season starts. Over the next few weeks, there will still be lots of people boating, fishing, swimming, barbecuing and even lighting off fireworks. With so much going on, it’s important to stay vigilant with summer safety. 

Below are a few reminders for keeping your eyes safe from the ocular risks of fireworks, UV rays and barbecuing. 

Use Caution When Playing with Fireworks 

According to the CPSC, 180 people go to the emergency room every day with firework related injuries around the Fourth of July. Obviously, more people are playing with fireworks during this time, hence the higher number of ER visits. But, this reminds us of how dangerous fireworks really are. 

The most injured parts of the body include the hands and fingers (28%), the legs (24%) and the eyes (19%). The majority of these injuries are burns, and in the worst cases, ocular injuries can lead to blindness. The most common culprits of firework related injuries are bottle rockets and sparklers. 

Our recommendation: leave the fireworks to the professionals. But, if you must handle them on your own, follow all rules, wear UV-blocking sunglasses or goggles and keep them away from children. 

Buy the Right Types of Sunglasses 

Pick sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Don’t be fooled by a price tag, either. Some of the most expensive pairs of sunglasses are for designer use only. A few other tips that retina specialists recommend are: 

-Bigger is better 

-Color and darkness don’t matter – check the label 

Polarized lenses reduce glare, not UV

For added sun protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat. These hats shade the face and eyes at most angles. 

Wear Safety Goggles When Grilling or Playing Sports 

Safety goggles may not be the most stylish trend, but they’re worth it if they end up saving your eyes and your vision. When grilling, keep your eyes covered with a pair of sunglasses or safety goggles. Eye injuries can occur from lighter fluid, sparks of fire and even small grill fires. 

You should give the same attention to your eyes when playing sports, including outdoor water activities. The great thing about goggles is that they won’t fall off and cut your face as sunglasses can. You can be both competitive and comfortable with these heavy-impact lenses. 

Continue giving your eyes the same protection as you did earlier in the summer. It’s estimated that 80% of our exposure to UV light happens before 18 years of age, so be sure to set a good example for younger children in the family. If you do happen to suffer an eye injury, contact your ophthalmologist doctor in New York right away.