It’s (almost) summertime and the livin’ is easy—just don’t sing that old Gershwin classic to any eye care physicians. When school’s out, peak ocular trauma season begins, according to a team of California-based researchers. The investigators reviewed eight years’ worth of data on summer fun gone wrong and found that, although on average eye trauma continues to drop approximately 4% every year, there’s a statistically significant annual bump in cases between May and July.

Most of those injured were males (66%) who were younger than age 60 (91%). The most common injuries they sustained included superficial injury of eye and adnexa, extraocular foreign body, contusion of eye and adnexa, and ocular adnexal open wound.

Older studies suggest that those summertime injuries often result from a patriotic pastime—fireworks. In fact, in a 2016 study of 327 patients who sustained firework damage. 100 (31%) walked away with ocular injuries. Fifty-four percent of those injuries occurred within 48 hours of July 4th. Most were caused by mortars (24%) and rockets (22%). Rockets were associated with four times the frequency of ocular injuries compared with non-ocular injuries.2

“Prevention efforts would likely be most effective if implemented in the spring or summer months,” concluded the authors of the 2018 study.

1. Ramirez D, Porco T, Lietman T, Keenan J. Ocular injury in United States emergency departments: seasonality and annual trends estimated from a nationally representative dataset. Am J Ophthalmo. 2018;191(7):149-55.
2. Chang I, Prendes M, Tarbet K. Ocular injuries from fireworks: the 11-year experience of a US level I trauma center. Eye (Lond). 2016 Oct;30(10):1324-30.