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Children waving sparklers on the 4th of July is as American as apple pie and baseball. Few of us know, however, that those small wands shooting out sparks sizzle at temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees and, along with other fireworks, cause thousands of eye injuries each year.

Watching fireworks with family and friends on Independence Day is a time-honored tradition, but the reality is that eye injuries caused by fireworks have doubled in recent years, resulting in about 1,200 visits to emergency rooms across the nation in 2014. Outlook Eyecare, with eye doctors in Hamilton Township, Princeton, and Mercerville, NJ is highlighting this fact to help prevent fireworks-related eye injuries this year.

Video Courtesy of the American Academy of Ophthalmology

To help New Jersey residents stay safe this Independence Day, we’ve compiled some tips that will help keep your celebrations free of eye injuries:

  • Never allow children to ignite fireworks. Yes, that includes sparklers and other small, seemingly harmless products. Small doesn’t equal safe. They can even pose more danger because people are less vigilant in supervising kids lighting these fireworks. Even tiny poppers or snappers can ricochet and burn the eyes of toddlers or small children.
  • Be extra cautious handling “duds.” That’s because fireworks that appear defective and are thought to be extinguished are unpredictable. Anyone igniting fireworks or handling them after they’ve been lit should wear protective eyewear to avoid accidents.
  • Even spectators need to be cautious. Just because you’re not the one lighting the firework doesn’t mean you are out of the firing line. Half of those suffering eye injuries caused by fireworks were bystanders, according to an international study. Of those, 1 out of 6 victims sustained severe vision loss.
  • Explosive fireworks that shoot projectiles into the air are illegal for a reason. Bottle rockets and other explosive fireworks are extremely dangerous and should not be used.
  • Attend a community-sponsored fireworks show. These family-friendly events can become a new 4th of July tradition. Go just for the show, or make it a daylong outing with family and friends. Leaving the fireworks to the professionals is the safest way to enjoy the Fourth.

Remember, you should get immediate medical attention if you do suffer an eye injury and avoid rubbing or applying pressure to the eye. If you know or suspect there’s an object in your eye, don’t remove it, apply ointments, or take pain medication before getting medical help.


June is Cataract Awareness Month, an observance created by the American Academy of Ophthalmology to raise awareness of this important eye health issue. At Outlook Eyecare, we see this as an opportune time to educate you about this very common condition. Our eye doctors in Princeton treat patients from surrounding cities like Hamilton Township and other central New Jersey communities, but because it is such a widespread concern, we feel everyone can benefit from learning more about cataracts.

Cataracts occur as we age and the eye’s natural lens thickens and becomes cloudy. They are the main cause of vision loss for men and women older than 55 and, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, about 25 million Americans have cataracts. Here are 3 important facts about cataracts that many people might not know.

  • Lifestyle’s role as risk factor: Lifestyle and behavior can influence how early or late in life you develop cataracts, and how the condition will progress. Age is the most common risk factor associated with cataracts, but recent studies indicate that other factors play a role in the timing and severity of developing cataracts. For example, diabetes, extensive exposure to the sun, smoking, and obesity can all contribute to an increased risk of cataracts. High blood pressure and certain ethnicities have also been linked to having a higher risk of having cataracts than the general population. Eye injuries, previous eye surgery, and using steroid medication over a long period can also result in cataracts.
  • You can lower your risk: Cataracts cannot be prevented, but you can take steps to decrease the risk of developing cataracts. Protecting yourself from sun exposure by wearing sunglasses with lenses that block UV rays and using wide-brimmed hats can help. Several studies concluded that people who eat more foods rich in vitamin C lower their risk of developing cataracts at younger ages. Women and men who don’t smoke cigarettes are also less likely to develop cataracts until much later in life.
  • Improved vision is just one benefit of surgery: During cataract surgery, your eye surgeon replaces the natural, clouded lens with an intraocular lens, an artificial lens made of plastic, silicone, or acrylic. There are a range of lenses to choose from, and each provides unique benefits. More than just improving your vision, cataract surgery has been shown to improve patients’ quality of life and reduce the risk of falling.

If you’ve noticed your vision becoming less clear, cataracts could be the cause. Cataract Awareness Month is a good time to request a consultation at one of Outlook Eyecare’s 3 locations. Or call one of the offices at (609)409-2777 (Monroe Township), (609) 419-1920 (Princeton), or (609) 587-4700 (Mercerville), to schedule an appointment.

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Monroe Township
Outlook Eyecare
5 Centre Drive #1B
Monroe Township, NJ 08831
Phone: (609) 409-2777

Visit us anytime

Outlook Eyecare
100 Canal Pointe Boulevard #100
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: (609) 419-1920

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