children playing with sparklers

Protect your eyes during firework shows: Here’s what you need to know

It’s Guy Fawkes Night and Londoners will light thousands of fireworks to celebrate the occasion. But although the sky will be ablaze with colourful light, there are some things to keep in mind if you value your safety.

As researchers have found, the eye is the most frequently injured body part related to use of fireworks, accounting for more than 2,000 injuries every year. In the UK, 10 people lose their sight and around 300 people suffer serious eye injuries as a result of accidents caused by fireworks. Operating fireworks unsafely can cause scratches to the cornea, chemical and thermal burns or, in rare cases, rupture your eyes.

So while it’s definitely a fun experience to watch a fireworks show, remember these rules:

1. Let the professionals do it

Visit an organised display or hire a professional to take care of all of your fireworks needs.

2. Shield your eyes

Wear protective gear, even if you wear regular glasses. Look for polycarbonate lenses or other forms of protection.

3. Think of the children

Make sure that any kids attending a fireworks show are at a safe distance and do not let them play with the fireworks, even sparklers.

4. Do not touch lit fireworks

If the fireworks didn’t go off, don’t attempt to go back to check on them. Sometimes it takes a while due to a damaged fuse. If they don’t go off at all, contact your nearest fire department.

If for any reason you or somebody else has an accident, follow these rules:

5. Call an ambulance

The quicker you get help, the less damage your eyes are.

6. Do not touch your eyes

Do not rub, rinse or apply any creams or other substances to your eyes. Let a professional help you, otherwise you risk increasing the damage done to your vision.

Fireworks are fun! Enjoy the night show and remember: it’s better safe than sorry.

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Bola Odufuwa-Bolger

Consultant Ophthalmologist
Clinic Director

Bola Odufuwa is a consultant ophthalmologist at The Royal Free Hospital and My-iClinic. Her specialities include cataract, glaucoma, paediatric, and laser refractive surgery. Bola has had extensive training at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, where she gained expertise in the management of various eye conditions.

Bola Odufuwa’s special interests include optimal refractive outcomes following cataract surgery, non-penetrating glaucoma surgery, and assessment eyesight in children with special needs: particularly dyslexia and autism.

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Mr John Bolger

Consultant Ophthalmologist
Clinic Director

John Bolger is a Consultant Ophthalmologist and Clinic Director at My-iClinic. His specialities include ophthalmology, laser refractive surgery (SMILE, Presbyond, LASIK, PRK, PTK), refractive lens exchange (RLE), cataract surgery, glaucoma treatment and macular degeneration.

Over the course of his career, John Bolger has carried out over 35,000 cataract operations, 20 of which were for eye surgeons. He has also taught over 1500 young ophthalmologists worldwide as they begin their surgical careers.