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If fireworks hit your eyes...

Media Release
3 November 2005

If fireworks hit your eyes…

If you injure your eye with fireworks, get medical attention immediately. Failing to do so could lead to permanent vision loss.

“Most people know how to protect themselves against skin burns but they don’t always think about the harm fireworks can cause to their eyes,” says Chris Inglis, RNZFB Divisional Manager Technology, Employment and Awareness. “It’s a good idea to wear protective eye glasses to stop stray particles entering the eye.”

“Eye damage caused by fireworks is serious and can be vision threatening if not attended by an eye physician immediately,” says Ms Inglis.

Aside from wearing protective eye wear the RNZFB recommends following the Fire Services safety tips at www.fire.org.nz/home_kids/tips/fireworks.htm

In the advent of eye injury the RNZFB recommends these tips:

- Do not delay medical attention even for seemingly mild injuries. “Mildly” damaged areas can worsen and end in serious vision loss or even blindness.

- Do not rub the eye – if eye tissue is torn, rubbing might push out the eye’s contents and cause more damage.

- Do not attempt to rinse out the eye – this can be even more damaging than rubbing.

- Shield the eye from further pressure by taping a shield such as a foam cup around the eye.

- Do not give aspirin or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain – they thin the blood and might increase bleeding.

- Do not apply ointment or medication – it probably won’t be sterile. Ointments make the area slippery and this could slow the doctor’s examination at a time when every second is crucial.

ENDS

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