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DEAR ABBY: Each year on the Fourth of July, thousands of adults and children are seriously injured by fireworks. Many burns and injuries affect eyesight, permanently damaging, and in some cases, blinding the victims. Because of this, the American Optometric Association has joined the Millennium Fireworks Safety Partners, a coalition of 35 national organizations, in urging people to avoid private fireworks and instead enjoy professional displays.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 20 percent to 25 percent of firework injuries are to the eyes. In a special study of fireworks-related injuries covering the period June 23 to July 23, 1999, CPSC reports that there were 6,300 emergency room-treated injuries, most involving fireworks, rockets and sparklers. Forty percent of the victims were under 15 years of age, and about 75 percent were males.

Sparklers are the second most frequent cause of fireworks injuries that result in trips to the emergency room. In addition to potential burns, a sparkler can literally "poke someone's eye out."

Please be careful this Fourth of July. Protect your precious eyesight by avoiding fireworks at home. Enjoy professional displays from a safe distance. -- HARVEY P. HANLEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION

DEAR DR. HANLEN: The statistics you quoted are alarming, and thank you for the warning.

The loss of a finger, an eye or a life would turn a happy holiday into a tragedy. Readers, please celebrate the Fourth of July safely by attending professional fireworks displays and forgo setting off your own.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a 29-year-old daughter who is married and has two small children.

When she turned 17, she went to Israel and slowly became Orthodox Jewish. She married a guy just like her. My husband and I are Jewish but not religious; however, I accepted her new way of life even though we continue to live our own way of life.

My problem is my husband. He says that she went against his wishes, and she should have considered his opinion. He expects me to minimize my visits, saying we are married and should "work as a team."

Abby, religious or not religious, my grandchildren are my life. I will never stop seeing them or loving them. I think my husband needs to hear other people's views. Would you care to comment? -- JANE IN NEW YORK

DEAR JANE: Your letter is unusual. Although I have received mail from parents deploring the fact that their children are living together without marriage and having children out of wedlock, I receive very few from parents who complain that their children are too religious.

Your daughter is an adult, and as such she has a right to worship as she wishes. While your husband feels she should have consulted him about her choice of husband and lifestyle, the decision was hers to make. It appears that your daughter doesn't respect his opinion. After reading your description of his narrow-minded, controlling nature and unilateral way of dealing with those near and dear, I don't blame her.

You have your head on straight. Keep the lines of communication open.

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