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Take extra care of your eyes this Bonfire Night

03 Nov 2011 15:34:32

As the celebrations for Halloween and Bonfire Night heat up, Ophthalmologists at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (TRFT) are reminding people to take extra care of their eyes around bonfires, fireworks and sparklers.

TRFT has seen an increase in the number of patients with injuries and infections of the eyes recently, some of which have resulted in patients admitted to wards for further treatment.

A cause of this is thought to be makeup and novelty cosmetic contact lenses, often used at this time of the year to add extra ‘menace’ to Halloween costumes. The number of patients visiting the hospital’s Opthalmology department is predicted to increase further following the Bonfire Night festivities this weekend.

Mr Jabir, Consultant Ophthalmologist at TRFT advises: “It is always important for people to take care with their eyes. At this time of the year people need to be especially cautious and make sure they follow good safety and hygiene practice. I would advise people to take special care when out enjoying the festivities and very importantly, to make sure anything they put in their eyes is purchased from a specialist optician to ensure high levels of hygiene are maintained.

“We have seen an increase of people with eye infections at the hospital so I would urge anyone using novelty cosmetic contact lenses to make sure they are using them carefully and if they feel they have to wear them then they must be purchased them from a specialist optician. People should never take shortcuts with their eyes as they are a very sensitive area and this can lead to complications such as infections, ulcers and abscesses.”

Mr Jabir also added that contact lens wearers should be advised not to leave monthly disposable contact lenses in the eyes day and night for a month and that wearers should be extra careful with these type of lenses during insertion and removal and with regards to hand hygiene during this process.

Official guidance

Official guidance from the Government states that members of the public should:

  • not buy fireworks from anywhere you’re not sure about, like a van or a temporary, unlicensed market stall
  • only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or with a CE mark – this shows that the firework meets British or European safety standards (a reputable shop will know this)
  • follow the instructions on each firework – read them in daylight or by torchlight, never by a naked flame
  • make suitable supports and launchers if you’re setting off Catherine wheels or rockets


 Things you will need on the night 

  • It’s easy to get a few household things together, these are:
  • a closed metal box to store the fireworks – take them out one at a time
  • a bucket of water – to cool sparklers and put out any small fires
  • eye protection and gloves
  • a bucket of earth to stick fireworks in
  • Lighting fireworks
  • Follow these simple guidelines to stay safe:
  • only one person should be responsible for letting off fireworks
  • don’t drink alcohol if you are setting off fireworks
  • light fireworks at arm’s length, using a taper
  • make sure everyone stands well back
  • never go back to a firework that has been lit – even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode



  • supervise children with sparklers and never give them to a child under five
  • light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  • put used sparklers hot end down into a bucket of sand or water


 Other tips on the night 

  • keep pets indoors – most animals get very scared by the lights and noise from fireworks
  • never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
  • never throw spent fireworks on a bonfire
  • take care around bonfires – all clothes, even those labelled ‘low flammability’ - can catch fire

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