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Optical Express Warn Against Potential Dangers to Eye Health This Bonfire Night

By Optical Express

As millions of Britons up and down the UK prepare to celebrate November 5th by holding bonfire and fireworks parties, the team at leading eye-care provider Optical Express are warning those planning such activities to spare a thought for the potential damage certain objects can cause to eye health. 

According to research*, every year in the UK ten people lose their sight due to fireworks; with over half of all firework related injuries suffered by young children. 

Bearing this unsettling statistic in mind, the team at Optical Express are urging all parents and individuals to take extra care regarding their optical health when attending bonfire parties or firework displays this year. 

Dr Steve Schallhorn, Chief Medical Director of Optical Express, has compiled the following tips for anyone planning to attend an event this Bonfire weekend:

1. Wear protective eye wear. Normal glasses won’t protect your eyes from injuries sustained at high speed. It is recommended that those lighting fireworks should shield their eyes with polycarbonate lenses.

2. Buy fireworks which meet the British Standards – only purchase your fireworks from a reputable retailer and ensure the products you buy conform to the British Standards; these will be marked BS 7114 on the box.

3. Light your fireworks at arm’s length and stand well back. Do not return to a firework which has been lit but did not go off, as it could still explode at any moment.

4. Make sure all children attending the event are supervised at all times during any firework displays or bonfires and forbid them from running or playing anywhere near where the fireworks and unlit bonfire are being stored. You should also NEVER give sparklers to those under the age of five.

5. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. It is important to remember that, if you are in charge of lighting fireworks, you must keep your wits about you and steer clear of alcohol until afterwards in order to ensure a safe display.

*- A British Ophthalmological Surveillance Unit study on serious ocular injuries from fireworks in the UK, FA Knox, WC Chan, AJ Jackson, B Foot, JA Sharkey and FG McGinnity (25 October 2006) 

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