Fred Bodimer

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)- Local eye doctors fear that the cancellation of many community fireworks displays due to extreme drought conditions may lead to more individuals setting off their own fireworks.

And that could be extremely dangerous.

Every year, about 9,000 fireworks injuries occur, most of them around the Fourth of July. And 1,600 Americans injure their eyes using fireworks each year — sparklers cause about a third of all those injuries — with children particularly vulnerable.

Barnes Jewish and Washington University School of Medicine ophthalmologist, Dr. Kumar Rao advises never letting children play with fireworks of any type. He says try to view fireworks from at least 500 feet away, and leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.

“Half of the victims of eye injuries, for example, are children and teenagers,” Rao says. “The majority of these are between the age of five and fourteen years old. They are the ones at greatest risk for these kinds of injuries.”

If an accident does occur, Rao says get to an ER as quickly as possible and ask for a opthamologist.


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