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Eye doctors warning against firework danger

PHOENIX -- This time of year, thousands of people end up in emergency rooms all over the country with injuries from fireworks.

"We're seeing burns to their eyes, pieces of metal in the eyes, lacerations and penetrating injuries even," said Dr. Matthew Palmer of Southwestern Eye Center. "The worst case is a total loss of the eye. Not only blindness, but actually having to remove the eye."

One-fourth of injuries caused by fireworks result in permanent vision loss or blindness. Even the smallest bit of a firework can cause significant problems.

Unfortunately, children are the most common victims of these types of injuries: Those under the age of 15 account for half of all firework injuries in the U.S.

According to Palmer, there are no "safe" fireworks that are optometrist approved. There are only "safe practices:"

• Follow all safety procedures when handling any type of fireworks.
• Safety glasses can significantly reduce the chance of eye injuries.
• Children should never play with fireworks without adult supervision.
• If an injury occurs seek immediate professional help.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 9,000 fireworks-related deaths occur every year. About 65 percent of all firework-related injuries happen around the Fourth of July.

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About the Author


Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.

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