PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Eye doctors across the region are warning people to leave the fireworks to the professionals. This weekend, doctors are expecting a marked increase in serious eye injuries caused by everything from sparklers to M-80s.

Tom Eldershaw, 20, of Jackson, New Jersey knows first hand how violent fireworks can be. Last year, he was setting off fireworks at a neighborhood celebration when he was seriously hurt.

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“I reached over a little bit to drop this firework into the center mortar tube and when I leaned over to light it with my lighter, the fireworks in the left mortar tube discharged and hit me point blank.”

It fired directly into his left eye.

Doctor Michael Dellavecchia, at Wills Eye Institute, was the first doctor to see the damage.

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“The force of the explosion was so violent that it cut the eye basically in half.”

Eldershaw lost sight in his left eye and has had to relearn how to drive, how to throw and catch a ball and more. He says his life completely changed in a matter of seconds, and urges others to leave the fireworks to the professionals this weekend.

Reported by Kim Glovas, KYW Newsradio

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