Woman almost blinded by bottle rocket

VINCENT, Ala. (WIAT) — If you’re planning on shooting off some fireworks on your own this Fourth of July you should follow the directions with care. Eye doctors with UAB say they always get a flood of patients with eye injuries this time of year.

Almost exactly a year ago, Dianne Peterson nearly lost total vision in her left eye.

“It was a miracle,” Peterson said.

Peterson’s entire family was over at her house last July 4th. They were shooting off fireworks from the back porch.

“I came outside and they said a bottle rocket had went off and they said, ‘Well we don’t know which way it went,” Peterson said.

Before she could respond, she says the bottle rocket hit her in the eye.

“When it hit me, it pinned me back against the door because of the force,” Peterson said.

Peterson had her first surgery with UAB’s Callahan Eye Hospital that night. Her cornea was badly cut, her iris damaged, and she had bleeding and debris behind her eye.

“Dr. Witherspoon and Dr. Fowler said the impact of the bottle rocket immediately formed a cataract on my eye,” Peterson said.

She had a total of three surgeries and seven months of recovery.

“I couldn’t bend, I couldn’t stoop, I had to keep my head up, and I had to lay flat on my back,”  Peterson said.

Peterson’s eye is almost as good as new. She lost some vision but with a contact lens, she says she sees just fine.

This Fourth of July, Peterson says her family will be celebrating the holiday much differently than last year.

“No fireworks, and there’s nothing wrong with fireworks at home but I would tell anybody it’s best to go look at the professionals,” Peterson said.

UAB’s eye specialists say that they would prefer everyone leave fireworks to the professionals but if you must set off your own, they have a few safety tips.

Steer clear of bottle rockets all together.

Never let kids play with any firecrackers alone, even sparklers. Sparklers reach 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s hot enough to melt gold.

Keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby and if you do injure your eye, don’t touch it at all. Go straight to the emergency room.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News.

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