Eye Incidents and Accidents Prominent on Independence Day

Safety Recommendations from The Vision Council and Prevent Blindness America

Alexandria, VA (July 2, 2013) – On July 4th, the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission predicts that hundreds of people will be treated at hospital emergency rooms for firework-related injuries to their eyes[i]. Of these injuries, half are projected to occur in individuals under 20 years old, including serious damage like contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies in the eye. As adults, children and families alike prepare to celebrate Independence Day, The Vision Council and Prevent Blindess America urge Americans to safeguard their eyes.

Sixty percent of firework injuries occur during the days surrounding July 4th, and more than half of these injuries are the result of unexpected ignition or consumers not using fireworks as intended. Flying objects like sparks, bottle rockets and sky rockets can hit the eye and result in permanent vision loss or damage.

“Celebrations around July 4th are always memorable but events can go awry quickly. In fact most injuries from fireworks are to bystanders, not the person lighting them,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “In order to have a fun and healthy Independence Day, The Vision Council and Prevent Blindness America recommend  the public only attend fireworks shows by licensed professionals, but still remain vigilant as the CPSC reported 100 eye injuries from public fireworks displays last year.”

In addition to fireworks, July 4th hazards also include UV radiation, which can be extremely damaging to eyes. During summer months, when UV levels are at their highest, solar radiation can cause both short and long term vision issues in children and adults. To mitigate the risks of UV, sunglasses and other UV-protective eyewear should be worn at all times.

“Sunglasses remain the best defense against UV-related eye damage,” said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. “Families will be spending a lot of time outdoors this July 4th and it is imperative that children and adults wear UV protection to prevent against painful and serious vision impairment.”

When purchasing a pair of UV-protective sunglasses, consumers should take the following tips into consideration:

  • Buy from a credible source and do not purchase sunglasses from vendors or online auction sites
  • Look for a sticker or label on sunglasses that indicates UVA and UVB protection
  • Make sure sunglasses fit well and are comfortable
  • Consider lens options that can improve contrast and clarity for certain activities
  • Try wraparound glasses or glasses with larger temple pieces help block the sun from side angles

For more information on the dangers of fireworks or UV-protection, please visit The Vision Council at or Prevent Blindness America at


About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach.By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

[i] U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (2013). Fireworks-Related Deaths, Emergency Department-Treated Injuries, and Enforcement Activities During 2012.