Protecting Sight Daily Learning #21: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Public Happiness. #ProtectingSight

Welcome to day #21 of my daily learning journal. My goal is to watch one Ted Talk and one cataract surgery each day. In addition, I plan to read one journal article and read/listen to a book chapter, short story or significant work.

Today’s theme honors July 4th, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pursuit of Happiness:

1. Ted Talk – Caroline Winterer: America’s pursuit of happiness and why it’s gone wrong. “We are so preoccupied with happiness that the Declaration of Independence guarantees our right to pursue it. But are we doing it right? Historian Caroline Winterer argues that what the founding fathers meant was public happiness, the need for citizens to work collectively toward a robust democracy. ‘Only public happiness,’ she explains, ‘creates the umbrella of stability under which we can pursue private happiness.'” (

Found Professor Winterer’s talk by searching “independence” on the Ted app. Very much enjoyed her 10 minute talk.

2. Cataract Surgery – Richard J. Mackool, Sr. MD – Humans, Happiness, and the Wonder of New. “In his 2013 Charles D. Kelman Innovator’s Award lecture, Richard J. Mackool Sr, MD, shares highlights of his long career mixed with humorous skits (don’t miss the eyeball driving a toy car) and family memories. The internationally recognized cataract surgeon, author and lecturer has been in practice for more than 40 years. Dr. Mackool is the founder and director of the Mackool Eye Institute and Laser Center in New York, and professor of ophthalmic surgery at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and NYU Medical Center.”

Honored to see Dr. Mackool at the 2014 “Telling It Like It Is” Cataract Surgery Symposium

I visited Dr. Mackool’s Eye Institute twice during the early years of practice. Dr. Mackool is a master surgeon and I remember him sharing the idea of placing viscoelastic under the anterior capsule. He also gifted me a signed copy of his book on phaco pearls!

Firework-Related Ocular Injuries by Year and Month
A, The national estimate of firework-related eye injuries from 1999 to 2017 (n = 34 969), estimated from a representative hospital sample. A 95% CI was not reported in 2012 and 2016 owing to a high coefficient of variation. Data from the representative hospitals (n = 1007) are organized by month (B). Ocular firework injuries most commonly occurred near national holidays.

3. Journal Article – Assessment of Firework-Related Ocular Injury in the US. Shiuey EJ, Kolomeyer AM, Kolomeyer NN. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2020; 138(6): 618–623. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.0832

Declaration of Independence (National Archives)

4. Significant work – NPR Reads The Declaration Of Independence – This is my favorite NPR episode! I remember waking up to the reading a few years ago and mesmerized by my favorite NPR voices reading the Declaration. I now seek out the yearly episode on

5. Please check out my July 4th blog post on #FireworksSafety: Fireworks, COVID-19, and the risk of eye injury: 10,000 reasons to leave fireworks to the professionals!

A listing of Protecting Sight Daily Learning posts is here.

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