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Prevent Blindness Florida
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Prevent Blindness FloridaUrges the Public to Educate Themselves on the Dangers of Fireworks
– Effects of Injuries from Fireworks Can Last a Lifetime –
Saint Petersburg, FL (June 13, 2013) – The Fourth of July is quickly approaching and soon, many communities will begin to see fireworks stands popping up around town (http://www.americanpyro.com/state-law-directory). Prevent Blindness Florida warns the public about the potential danger of fireworks. Injuries from fireworks can have a severe impact, even affecting lives years after the accident.
Back in 1997 when Colin Burns of Chicago was in the 5th grade, his life changed when shrapnel and gunpowder from a firework that someone else lit, destroyed his left eye. To make matters even worse, Burns was already being treated for amblyopia, or lazy eye. The accident caused him to replace his “good eye” with a prosthetic eye and he then needed to rely on his weaker eye to compensate. Burns endured multiple surgeries over the next few years, including one where doctors moved tissue from his bottom lip to his eye socket to help fill up space. Because the risk of injury to his right eye was too great, he was not able to play in organized sports growing up.
Despite his injury, Burns accomplished tremendous amounts, including recently graduating law school. However, the lingering effects of his eye injury have made many activities, including driving and reading, more difficult.
“Of course as a child, I didn’t fully realize how important healthy eyes were until my accident,” said Burns. “I hope my story will serve as a reminder to everyone, especially parents, on how dangerous fireworks can be.”
Last year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stated in its annual report that there were an estimated 9,600 injuries treated in emergency rooms in the United States, with the majority of those around the Fourth of July holiday.
Of those injuries, eyes were the second most commonly injured part of the body. And in most cases, including Colin’s, bystanders are more often injured by fireworks than the operators themselves. In fact, last year there were 200 eye injuries reported from viewing public fireworks displays.
Prevent Blindness Floridaoffers these tips to help prevent fireworks-related injuries:
· Do not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type.
· Be aware that even sparklers are dangerous and cause one half of fireworks injuries in children 5 and younger.
· Protect yourself, your family and your friends by avoiding fireworks.
· Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators but be aware that injuries can still occur.
Prevent Blindness Floridacontinues to support the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale and use of all fireworks and sparklers, except for authorized public displays by competent licensed operators. The non-profit group believes such bans are the only effective means of eliminating the social and economic impact of fireworks-related trauma and damage.
“We want to wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July,” said Leslie Bailey, Interim Director of Prevent Blindness Florida “And we encourage everyone to celebrate this important holiday without the use of fireworks.”
For more information on fireworks safety, please call Prevent Blindness Florida at 813.874.2020, log on to preventblindnessflorida.org or advocacy.preventblindness.org/prevent-eye-injuries-fireworks.
About Prevent Blindness Florida
Prevent Blindness Florida (PBF), founded in 1957, is a statewide non-profit 501(c)(3) with a passion to preserve sight. We screen the vision of thousands of adults and children each year. Our vision screenings help children at risk of vision loss who depend on good vision for learning. We assist adults threatened by glaucoma, macular degeneration and other serious vision problems. We create awareness about the importance of vision care for all ages through seminars, vision screening, special events, public service announcements, brochures and our website. We support the work of scientists who will find tomorrow's cures for the eye diseases that threaten Americans with vision loss and blindness. You can help support the sight-saving programs of Prevent Blindness Florida by donating $1 or more when you renew your vehicle registration and driver’s license. More information about Prevent Blindness Florida and its programs is available at www.preventblindnessflorida.org. Prevent Blindness Florida can be reached by telephone at 813.874.2020 in the Tampa Bay area and at 800.817.3595 outside the Tampa Bay area.