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Eye specialists join call for fireworks ban

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Eye specialists join call for fireworks ban

Medical eye specialists have joined the call for fireworks to be banned from public sale.

New Zealanders are risking being blinded or damaging their eyes because of injuries from fireworks, which go on sale tomorrow (October 27). This is a tragic price to pay for a few minutes of fun, says the New Zealand Branch of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO).

Ophthalmologists have seen the damage done to eyes by fireworks, and support a ban on public sales. While sales of fireworks are still legal, RANZCO urges people not to use them.

"Fireworks injuries are preventable," says Dr Stephen Best, the Branch Chairman. "Leave fireworks strictly in the hands of professionals."

"Many people do not realise just how dangerous fireworks are. Often they are treated like toys, and young children may have access to them. Even when a child is supervised, an accident can happen in a split second.

"Even sparklers, which look harmless, can reach dangerously hot temperatures when lit," Dr Best says.

"Ophthalmologists have seen too many children have their eyesight damaged unnecessarily by fireworks. Such injuries are often irreversible, and can lead to ongoing problems and costs to the health system."

ENDS

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