Enjoy The Fireworks, But Protect Those Peepers

Wednesday - July 02, 2008
By MidWeek Staff
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Enjoy fireworks from a distance, advises Wahiawa ophthalmologist Christopher Tortora, who shares some grim statistics about eye injuries from July 4 celebrations.

“The vast majority of injuries from improper use of fireworks happen to young adolescent males,” Tortora pointed out. “In addition, 25 percent of all fireworks-related injuries involve the eyes - many of which result in permanent vision loss.” Eye injuries include contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies entering the eye.

Tortora, who heads Hawaiian Eye Center in Wahiawa, suggests parents monitor on their children and go to larger public venues to watch public fireworks displays, rather than exploding them at home.

“Last year on the island of Oahu alone we had five professional firework displays that were put on in the evening of Independence Day. With so many options to choose from, it is truly a shame when we see a child brought in with an eye injury from a fireworks-related incident.

“Fireworks are certainly a fun and beautiful summer tradition, but it is far better to enjoy them from a safe distance than to endanger your eyes and health.”

He said about 6,500 injuries were sustained from fireworks June 18-July 18 in 2005, 45 percent of them in children under 14.

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