Protect Your Eyes this Fourth of July

HATTIESBURG, MISS. – The Fourth of July is just a little more than two weeks away, and staff members from the Hattiesburg Clinic want residents to protect their eyes.

“We always want to get the word out because whoever is on-call Christmas, New Years, and Fourth of July, we almost know that somebody is going to have an injury,” Jane Kersh, MD, from Eye Physicians and Surgeons for the Hattiesburg Clinic said. “The most common injuries are from ‘Bottle Rockets’ because once they are lit, with their projectile… they can hit the eye and cause bleeding inside the eye.”

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2016, more than 11,000 people reported a fireworks-related injury. Nine percent of those injuries happened to a person's eyes. “The most common thing I’ve seen is a bleed inside the eye,” Kersh said. “That can be very serious. It can cause long-term problems with Glaucoma. It's the colored part of your eye, or the Iris will bleed. If it gets hit hard enough, and that's very difficult to manage in certain people.” This could cause a person to lose their eyesight, or suffer other irreversible injuries. The most common age group who suffers a firework-related injury is teenagers to young adults. “It's mostly teenagers and young adults,” Kersh said. “You wouldn't think they need adult supervision, but young men in their 20s like to do dangerous things.” One reason why many doctors prefer that the public to leaves the fireworks alone, and let the professionals do their job. “The best thing you can do with fireworks is go to a professional show, and not play with them yourself,” Kersh said.

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