Posted by: Carolinas Center for Sight in Eye Safety

During the 4th of July, most people are concerned with planning backyard barbeques, securing their camping sites ahead of time, and making sure they have a front-row view of whatever fireworks show they’re about to enjoy. However, there’s so much more to think about when it comes to this holiday, as the 4th of July is the one day where eye injuries occur the most. That’s right – more than any other day of the year, ophthalmologist offices and emergency rooms are inundated with people who have accidentally sustained an ocular injury. Let’s review 5 ways that you can keep your eyes healthy and safe during this fun holiday:

  1. Use caution around fireworks – While it might seem like common sense, keeping your eyes safe around fireworks is an integral way to avoid an injury. Children should not be allowed to play with fireworks of any kind and those who are enjoying them at the end of their cul-de-sac should make sure to keep a safe distance from fireworks that are about to go off.
  2. Wear sunglasses – A great tip for any time of the year, the sun is quite strong during July and can cause damage to your eyes without you even realizing it. A variety of UV rays have been known to contribute to cataract growth and can also damage the sensitive skin around the eyes. Make sure you wear high-quality sunglasses every time you’re outside, including on the 4th of July.
  3. Bring eye protection – Many people enjoy swimming during this hot summer holiday, and it’s imperative to use appropriate eye protection even when in the water. Goggles or swim masks can help to keep eyes from getting irritated, and if you wear contact lenses, it’s crucial that you remove them before swimming and store them properly. Unfortunately, water contains large amounts of bacteria and can contribute to an eye infection quite easily.
  4. Understand emergency measures – If there is an eye injury on the 4th of July, would you know what to do? It’s important that you do not attempt to remove any foreign objects from the eye, and you should also refrain from trying to rinse it out or applying any pressure. Rather than attempting to treat the injury yourself, seek medical attention immediately.
  5. Keep your eyes moist – The 4th of July can be a dry time of year, and when you combine this hot day with the potential for drinking dehydrating beverages, our eyes can end up paying the price. Bring a small container of rewetting drops with you to keep them moist throughout the day, allowing you to watch the fireworks show in complete comfort.

Just like with any other holiday, the 4th of July can be enjoyable with just a little bit of planning ahead of time. Rather than worry about your eye safety, consider implementing the 5 tips above to ensure that all of your friends and family stay safe for years to come. After all, we only get one set of eyes, so it’s advised that you do everything you can to protect them.