’Crack down 

Credit: Brad Gregg

But leave it to the Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology to put a stop to all our fun. Since July is Fireworks Eye Safety Awareness Month (did you get our card?), the OAO would like to remind us that — get this — fireworks are dangerous. Who knew?

Well, probably all the kids who account for half of all fireworks-related eye injuries in the good ol’ U.S. of A. In fact, those purty sparklers are to blame for darn near 33.3 percent of all fireworks injuries — ocular or otherwise — for children under age 5. The sparks can reach a temperature of almost 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit — or what a typical summer day in Oklahoma feels like.

“In the past two years, I have seen several children and teenagers who have had handheld sparkler and explosive fireworks injuries,” said Dr. Evan Allan, an ophthalmology resident at Dean McGee Eye Institute. “They were uniformly extremely painful and, in some cases, resulted in vision loss.”

In other words, leave the fireworks to the professional displays. You know the ones: They’re all over town; they’re free; they end with Lee Greenwood; and they at- tract scores of people — so many that you’re stuck in traffic for a good 45 minutes afterward, just trying to get out of the parking lot! (See, that’s ironic, because the Fourth is supposed to be about freedom.)

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