Keep your eyes wide open during Sant Joan festivities!

Medical content revised by - Last revision 22/06/2016
Keep your eyes wide open during Sant Joan festivities!

Sant Joan festivities are widely celebrated in Catalonia. Bonfires are lit and a set of firework displays usually takes place. Sant Joan’s eve, on June 23rd is approaching, and we come to the moment where we need to remember much needed precautions for this long-awaited night.


When purchasing firecrackers that we want to use during the festivities, it is necessary to check that they are purchased from authorised sellers, and therefore, that we have the necessary manufacturing warranty.

Firecrackers manufacturers provide for each article specific security guidelines that must be strictly followed, ensuring that children only use age-appropriate firecrackers and are supervised at all times by an adult.


It is important to bear in mind that these articles pose a risk to human health, so they should never be thrown to someone’s direction nor carry them in the pockets, as they could cause physical injuries.

It is also important to be aware of the place we are using firecrackers. Setting off firecrackers from balconies, windows or vehicles can pose a big risk to anyone who is around, and it could damage sensible body parts, such as the eyes.

Therefore, it is essential not to bring firecrackers close to our face, nor approach the firecracker fuse in case the firecracker does not explode in order to see what is wrong: the firecracker could explode later than expected in front of us, causing us serious injuries in the face and eyes. If we manipulate firecrackers, it is always advisable to use protective glasses.

Furthermore, it is necessary to avoid manufacturing homemade explosives or combine firecrackers with other elements. No explosives should be inserted in bottles or bins, as they could ignite or explode, causing the break up and flying of potentially dangerous pieces. No fireworks should be thrown into the air or towards places where they could harm other people; rocket firecrackers can explode at any height and its flight can experience deviations.


It is also necessary to remember that we must not only be careful of how we manipulate firecrackers, but also how other people surrounding us do the same. We must keep our eyes wide open, as other people may cause situations that can endanger us.


Eye injuries from a firecracker can have very different degrees of severity. It can go from minor burns in eyelids or in the ocular area, to erosions in the ocular surface, or even more severe injuries causing the abrasion of tissues or the ocular globe rupture. Therefore, it is essential that, when confronted to injuries in the ocular area, the patient comes to an ophthalmic emergency service. Institut Català de Retina has a 24-hour service open 365 days a year at your disposal. Nonetheless, we provide a series of advices to bear in mind from the moment of the accident till the injured arrives at the emergency service.

Injuries affecting the external eye area:

  • Make light pressure in order to stem the bleeding.
  • Clean the eye and apply cool clean compresses.
  • Transfer the injured to ophthalmic emergency service.

Penetration of foreign bodies in the eye:

  • It is recommended to gently wash the area with water thus eliminating dust, shrapnel or burning particles. Otherwise, the wound could leave a scar or get infected.
  • Care must be taken not to compress the ocular globe.
  • Transfer the injured to ophthalmic emergency service.

Direct impact in the eye:

  • It is recommended to cover the eye with a sterile gauze or cloth in order to avoid possible infections.
  • Transfer the injured to ophthalmic emergency service and call them in advance to warn them so the team is can be prepared.


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