Fireworks are fun. So fun, we treat them like toys. Yes, toys that require a match, but toys nevertheless. Every year thousands of people, many of them children, suffer eye injuries in the US. Not to cast a shadow on anyone’s 4th of July, but fireworks can rupture the globe of the eye, cause chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions and retinal detachment — all of which can permanently cause eye damage and affect vision.
For those who decide to purchase consumer fireworks because they live in states where they are legal, we recommend the following safety tips to prevent eye injuries:
In case of a fireworks injury:
Thank you to the American Academy of Ophthalmology for sharing their video.
Wishing you a wonderfully fun and safe Independence Day!
Here are a few places SFGATE suggests for watching the big fireworks shows in the East Bay.
Indian Rock Park: Sure-footed scouts will feel like they scaled a mini Mt. Everest when they climb to the top of Indian Rock, an 11-million-year old volcanic formation within the Berkeley public park of the same name. The perch offers a view of all three bridges, so if the night is clear, multiple fireworks shows will be visible. This option is best for bigger kids—not for new walkers or little flight risks. While there are steps carved into the rock that will take you safely up and down, the steeper faces are used by serious rock climbers as practice, so bring a flashlight for the descent and stay alert. 950 Indian Rock Ave. at Shattuck Ave., Northeast Berkeley, ci.berkeley.ca.us
USS Hornet: Take your troops to watch the show aboard the USS Hornet. This ticketed event features all-day activities, games and live music plus front-row seats for the San Francisco fireworks, viewed from the flight deck and accompanied by music. The aircraft carrier doesn’t have any engines these days but you get to tour the floating museum and explore its history. There will be food and drinks for sale on both decks and free parking. Tickets: adults, $25; kids, $15-free. 707 West Hornet Ave., Alameda, uss-hornet.org
Bay Farm Island: Some say this is one of the best places in the Bay to watch the sky light up. From the ferry terminal, look across the bay to see sweeping views from the San Francisco skyline to San Bruno Mountain. The island is home to the country’s only bicycle drawbridge, 1000-foot long, across the estuary to Alameda. Take your place on the bridge and watch the show from here. If it’s a clear night, you’ll catch a glimpse of some seriously magnificent fireworks. Bay Farm Island, Alameda, acgov.org
Craneway Pavilion: At this free event on the Richmond waterfront, the Oakland Symphony will play live music from classic hits and movie favorites. The Pavilion offers floor-to-ceiling windows that are perfect for viewing the fireworks display put on by the City of Richmond. This event takes place on July 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:pm, but it is a great way to kick off the Independence Day holiday. Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South, Richmond, craneway.com