How This Unique Company Can Make Your July 4th Special

You've Probably Seen Their Work

This weekend we’re celebrating Independence Day in the U.S.  If you’re lucky, you’ll be watching a Pyro Shows production.

Fireworks 3

Fireworks are enjoyed in big cities and small towns worldwide.

An Independence Day to Remember

Over two decades ago I found myself celebrating July 4th in Washington, D.C.  I was pretty pumped – what better way to celebrate than in our nation’s capital?

A friend and I enjoyed the day on the National Mall – with an estimated crowd of about 400,000 people.

The fireworks show was spectacular, and one that still ranks in the top shows I’ve ever seen.

A Local Company With a Global Reach

Speaking of top shows, LaFollette’s own Pyro Shows is a global leader in pyrotechnics.  They’ve been in business for nearly 50 years.  Their events are incredible.  Even their practice sessions turn out to be eye popping.

They weren’t working in D.C. the year I went.  But according to their website, Pyro Shows has had the honor of providing the fireworks in our capital 13 times since 1995.

Maybe you’ve seen them perform.  They’ve held shows across the U.S. and around the world, including:

  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • San Sebastian, Spain
  • Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • Taipei, Taiwan

So why is your optometrist talking about fireworks?  Because they’re meant to be a visual treat, not a vision risk.

I hope you’re planning in celebrating July 4th in style.  But this year, consider leaving the fireworks to the experts.  Protect yourself, your kids, and your eyes.  Forget about backyard firecrackers and head to a professional show.  You won’t regret it!

Question: Where did you see your most memorable fireworks show?  Please answer in the comments below.

How to Avoid Devastating Fireworks Eye Injuries

Don't Let an Accident Ruin Your Independence Day Celebration

Fireworks injure thousands of people every year.  Children are especially at risk, and you may be surprised how dangerous even “safe” fireworks can be.


An Unfortunate Incident

My wife’s uncle is one of my favorite people.  He enjoyed a successful career as an educator.  He’s smart, funny, and well read.  In short, he’s a lot of fun to be around.

When he was a child, he lost an eye when a firecracker exploded in his hand.  He has lived most of his life with only one eye.  He has had to deal with both vision loss and a prosthetic eye for years.

He would probably tell you it’s no big deal.  And after this many decades, that may be true for him.  Still, he may wish he had never played with fireworks in the first place.

Sobering Statistics

It’s Fireworks Eye Safety Month.  Fireworks cause thousands of both fires and injuries in the weeks surrounding July 4th.  During that time, fireworks accidents will send over two hundred people to the ER every day.  And check out these numbers:

  • Nearly 20% of those injuries are to the eyes.
  • 40% of those injuries are to children under age 15.
  • For kids under age 5, most injuries are caused by sparklers, which burn at over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The best defense against kids (or anyone) suffering eye injuries or burns is to not let them play with fireworks.  And if you want clear vision and healthy eyes for life, you don’t want to either.  This is because eye and body safety is one foundation of living the visual lifestyle.

But I get it.  I don’t want to dampen anyone’s Independence Day enthusiasm.  But I do want to help people think clearly about fireworks use, especially if it will preserve their vision.

Although I recommend avoiding fireworks altogether, the American Pyrotechnics Safety and Education Foundation (a part of the American Pyrotechnics Association) offers safety tips.  You can read them all here.  They include:

  • Never give fireworks to young children, even sparklers.

Prevent Blindness offers Six Steps to Save Sight in the event of an injury:

  • Do not rub.  It may make injuries and bleeding worse.
  • Do not rinse.  Water isn’t sterile and could cause an infection.
  • Do not apply pressure.  It can make injuries worse.  Cover the eye with a foam cup instead.
  • Do not stop for medicine.  It won’t work, it may increase bleeding, and it will delay proper care.
  • Do not apply ointment.  Ointment may not be sterile, and it makes the examination more difficult for the eye doctor.
  • Do not let children play with fireworks, even sparklers.

I’m all about celebrating.  Just not when it may cause permanent vision loss.  This Independence Day, leave the fireworks to the pros.  They’ll always do it better and safer.  And if you experience an eye injury, leave that to the pros too.  Get to an eye doctor immediately for help.

Question: What is your favorite Independence Day memory?  Please comment below.


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Simple Tips to Elevate Your Visual Lifestyle

Most people are less aware of the world around them than they should be.  But how can you practice a vague concept like awareness?

Do you see a pile of junk or something more?

Do you see a pile of junk or something more?

A Real Surprise

Several years ago, the team at LaFollette Eye Clinic held a surprise baby shower for my wife and me.  I was the first to walk into the room.  The table was piled high with blankets, toys, and other baby goods.

I walked right past it.

I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t even notice it.  Someone even said, “Surprise!”  I asked what I should be surprised about, and she had to point out the table full of gifts.

It wasn’t my finest moment.

What Are You Missing?

Clear vision and healthy eyes are really important.  But when I ask what you’re missing, I’m talking about more than just blurry vision.

What if you’re missing out because you aren’t paying attention?  The visual lifestyle is a means to an end.  Your eyes let you enjoy the beauty of our world.

This is your “why,” your reason for living the visual lifestyle.  Whether art, people, or the outdoors, the world is beautiful.  And if you haven’t discovered your own reasons to keep yourself healthy and your vision clear, maybe you’re not paying attention to what your world has to offer.

If that’s true, don’t worry.  You’re not alone.  I’ve met many patients who see clearly yet don’t notice the world around them.  But you can get better at it.

Here are 5 ways you can practice awareness:

  • Gratitude: Being thankful isn’t natural for many of us.  But you can improve.  It’s as easy as reminding yourself to find the good in situations, people, and things.  Doing this makes people more beautiful and objects less ugly.  This is why a photographer with a grateful attitude can turn a pile of junk into a beautiful photo.
  • Appreciation: Train yourself to recognize qualities you might normally overlook.  Mrs. Jones taught me this lesson when she fussed over a file cabinet I had painted.  If you do this, things you love are even more appealing (think sunsets).  You’ll also find new respect for things you don’t usually like.  For example, if you dislike tattoos you can still appreciate the artistry – and the people who wear them.
  • Curiosity: Cultivate the desire to learn.  Ask (and answer) your own questions.  Is that a star or a planet?  What would it look like if I refinished this old dresser?  Is there anything new at my local museum?  When you awaken your curiosity, you train yourself to look more deeply at the world around you.  And the more you learn, the more you’ll want to learn.
  • Celebration: Get excited!  People often make much of bad things.  Instead, make a big deal out of good things.  (Bonus: no one will tell you to stop.)  Celebrate someone’s sweet fifteen (why wait another year?).  Applaud Aunt Bessie’s new hairdo.  Wear that Hawaiian shirt in the winter.  Like curiosity, celebration feeds itself.  The more you celebrate, the more you’ll look for reasons to.  This also raises your awareness.
  • Style: How we live and express ourselves is our style.  Children do this well.  Ask any four-year-old to choose their own outfit and see what you get.  But it’s not just about clothes.  Kids will sing, dance, and enjoy life no matter who’s watching.  When we become adults, we can lose this cheer.  Don’t be shy.  Enjoy those colored contact lenses and wear those polka dot sunglasses.

Your world has a lot to offer you and vice versa.  It’s sad to think you might not notice either.  But practice appreciation, and you’ll get better at seeing and celebrating the world and the people around you.  And yourself!

Question: Which if the five ways to practice appreciation speaks the most to you?  Which do you need to work on?  Tell me in the comments below.


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