Serious eye and adnexal injuries from fireworks in Northern Ireland before and after lifting of the firework ban--an ophthalmology unit's experience

Int Ophthalmol. 2004 May;25(3):167-9. doi: 10.1007/s10792-004-1958-z.


Background/aims: To report serious fireworks-related eye and adnexal injuries presenting to the Department of Ophthalmology in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. To assess the effect of lifting of the legislative ban on fireworks in Northern Ireland in 1996.

Method: Twelve year retrospective review from 1990 to 2001 inclusive of all ocular and adnexal injuries from fireworks requiring hospitalisation to the ophthalmology department.

Results: Twenty three patients with 23 injured eyes were reported. Six were female. The mean age was 18 years (+/- 13 SD). Six patients presented between the years 1990 and 1995. The remaining 17 patients presented between 1996 and 2001. Nearly half of the patients required ophthalmic surgical procedures. Thirty-six percent of patients had a final visual acuity of 6/60 or less. Superficial trauma not requiring hospitalisation was not included.

Conclusion: Removal of the legislative ban on fireworks in 1996 has had a significant effect on the incidence of eye injuries. These injuries are potentially preventable with stricter control on the availability of fireworks and a greater awareness of the ocular risks they pose.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blast Injuries / complications
  • Blast Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Explosions / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Eye Burns / complications
  • Eye Burns / epidemiology*
  • Eye Injuries / complications
  • Eye Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Fires / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Northern Ireland / epidemiology
  • Ophthalmology / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Visual Acuity