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Professional fireworks displays can cause eye damage

July 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's the holiday highlight families spend the whole day waiting for, but experts say the best way to enjoy Fourth of July fireworks is to go to a professional show.

It's much safer than setting them off at home. Officials report 6,000 fireworks-related injuries in the weeks surround Fourth of July last year. But some injuries, while rare, can happen at professional displays.

"The main issue there is truly debris falling into the eye," said Pasadena ophthalmologist Dr. David Richardson. He said in 2010, there were 400 eye injuries caused by debris.

"It depends on how windy the night is and how high the fireworks go into the air, but they can float down into the crowd," said Richardson. "And occasionally, that debris still can be hot -- an ember -- in which case if it hits they eye it can burn."

Again, Richardson reminds us these instances are very rare, and a professional display is still the best way to enjoy the holiday.

But he has a caution for people who suffer from dry eyes.

"Those who have very dry eyes can be a little sensitive to light," he said.

Large crowds, bright lights and loud sounds can be stressful on little ones. So keep a close eye on them.

But Krystal Ramirez says she'd rather take her 3 year old out than light her own.

"I'm kind of a paranoid mom, so it's probably better that we go to a fireworks show than do that," she said.

So be aware when you head out to watch a celebration in the sky and have a safe fun holiday.


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