Student C - Page 1 Student C English 301 Teacher’s Name Date Lasik "Millions of Americans have undergone LASIK eye surgery to correct bad vision, and along with the procedure's popularity something else is coming into focus: its hazards" (Vollmer). The problem? LASIK eye surgery, also known as laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. People don't understand the full risks they are making when they get LASIK eye surgery. In LASIK surgery, with a gentle cutting tool, the surgeon makes a slice sideways through the cornea while leaving one side still attached. The surgeon then lifts the flap, uses a beam of laser light to correct the bad vision, and then carefully replaces the flap back. It will dry and reattach after a few minutes, according to Helen Gibson from The Time International newspaper. But what happens when the flap doesn't go back on correctly? "In the worst cases, the aberrations are so extensive that they cannot be corrected, even with glasses" (Gibson). If placed incorrectly, the come a can wrinkle on your eye which will cause discomfort. This can be the same discomfort you receive when you have something stuck between your contact lens and your actual eye, except, you'll have it twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Therefore, people should not get LASIK eye surgery because it can cause post-operation discomfort, it is irreversible and may even cause worse vision, and people don't know the full story/risks behind it. Student C - Page 2 People don't realize how serious the discomfort can be after getting LASIK surgery. "Millions have undergone the procedure to correct bad vision and most have no complications, but thousands each year experience chronic pain, dryness, distorted night vision and even blindness," according to Sabine Vollmer, who is a writer for The McClatchy Newspaper. Although many people get the surgery and have no problems, there are always others, and more coming, that go through a lot of pain and suffering. Some patients don't have good vision at night, which is a negative. You may not be able to drive, and imagine having a grave yard shift at your workplace. There would be a great chance of getting into an accident because of not being able to see clearly due to your LASIK surgery. As an unsuccessful LASIK eye surgery patient, Matthew Kotsovolos, said, "I traded my glasses for permanent head pain, eye pain, and these things." While saying this, Kotsovolos pointed at his goggles that he now has to wear due to the surgery (Vollmer). So would you rather put in your contacts or put on your glasses or would you rather have to wear goggles over powering your face? According to John Ciccone, an American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Director of Communications, stated, "Of the approximately 3 million Americans who underwent laser eye surgery since 1995, more than 85 percent said the surgery improved their overall quality of life and 93 percent of patients said they were satisfied with the results." Even though that is 85 percent, that still leaves 450,000 patients who are not satisfied. This could be because they didn't receive the results they wanted, or most likely, their eye is irritating them and causing them discomfort. Something that is understated and that patients don't quite realize is that LASIK eye surgery is a serious procedure and is in-eversible. Kotsovolos is also an example to Student C - Page 3 show that you cannot undo your surgery. He is stuck with his goggles by his side, trying to recapture vision that he once had. He goes through a lot of uncontrollable pain, which also will not go away. Paula Lofer, another LASIK patient, describes her ordeal with LASIK surgery, "Life was very simple back then. Now, it's very complicated" (Vollmer). Before the procedure, Lofer would wear glasses and she would be able to see. Now, after the surgery, her vision is so bad that even glasses cannot fix the damage or her vision. Sadly enough, Lofer's life is not the same as it used to be. She will live the remaining of her life without having the vision that she hoped she would receive after her LASIK eye surgery. "Six months after the surgery, up to 28 percent of patients complained of eye dryness, up to 16 percent had blurry vision and up to 18 percent had difficulty driving at night" (Vollmer). Even though it may seem to be low percentages, the amount of people is still very great. People's free time will get cut down because of this procedure's malfunctions. Some might not be able to play sports as great as they did before since their eyesight will be blurred or become dry. Some tasks will be hard to perform. For example: cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and even taking a shower. It is sad to know that people will still continue to have complications even six months after the LASIK surgery. As with any other surgical procedure, you should definitely know the full risks of having LASIK eye surgery before determining whether you want to have this procedure done. Some people don't pay attention to the risk factors, and as a result, they are not happy with their outcomes. "[The damage 1 is noticeable and on the front of your mind all your waking hours. There's no escape" (Vollmer). This patient didn't know that the procedure could cause such pain. And now he has to live his life with it haunting him. Steven Assenata, a LASIK eye surgery patient said, "If I had understood there was a chance I Student C - Page 4 would be worse off, I might have changed my mind" (Gibson). The chances of harmful effects are scary. One of the big things that can go wrong is equipment malfunction. "[LASIK] can improve eyesight without complications, but equipment flaws, a surgeon's error or a failure to screen out patients whose eyes are ill-suited for the treatment can cause the operation to go awry" (Vollmer). Some patients don't go to get their eyes checked to see if they have any type of eye disease, which can be the reason for their surgery to go wrong. Also, some things that you can't control, like the surgeon's mistakes, can cause your surgery to also go wrong (Vollmer). Even though there are many risks to LASIK eye surgery, there are also some benefits. Patients can get near perfect vision, without going through the hassle that contact and glasses wearers do. "One of the benefits patients are most excited about is their new found freedom from corrective eye glasses and contact lenses," according to DocShop.com, a website that has information on health related topics ("LASIK Eye Surgery Benefits"). You may not have to go through the hassle of putting your contact lens in, but wouldn't you rather spend one minute every morning and one minute every night putting in or taking out your contacts, rather than going through a procedure that could cause you to become blind? And the same goes for eyeglasses. If it were up to me to make a decision to go under the knife, I would definitely take the time to put my lens on instead of putting myself through the risk of never being able to see again. "Many patients find that the ability to see more clearly than ever before helps them to be more outgoing socially" ("LASIK Eye Surgery Benefits"). Now that these patients don't have to worry about glasses hovering over their faces, they start to feel more physically Student C - Page 5 beautiful. They tend to want to go out more, since there's nothing holding them back anymore. They become more social with others compared to before the procedure ("LASIK Eye Surgery Benefits"). However, people who wear glasses can build their own self esteem. Optical companies make many styles of glasses and contacts to choose from. People can wear glasses to suit their moods, follow the latest styles, and set an image to suit themselves. Many people actually feel beautiful with their glasses. Supposedly, self esteem will rise due to having LASIK eye surgery. Self esteem shouldn't be tied to glasses or lack of them. A person with good self esteem accepts himself or herself regardless. According to Gerald Rogell, a senior attending physician at Washington Hospital Center in Rockville, Maryland, "The treatment usually takes only five to 20 minutes, depending on how many laser applications are needed." This brings me to the question, how many laser applications will a person need? Although the procedure will take a short amount of time to perform and complete, you still won't be out of the eye center within minutes. "You won't be able to see well out of the treated eye for an hour or so because of the bright flashes of the laser and the contact lens you wore during the treatment" (Rogell). So basically, you will still end up waiting for your eye to heal from the procedure. A LASIK surgery patient, Goldstein, has the ideal freedom from the hassle of putting in and taking out his contacts daily. But can everyone expect such wonderful results like Goldstein got? Rosenthal, an eye surgeon who performs LASIK surgery said, "The answer is no. It's not a fool proof procedure and people need to know that some can end up with worse eyesight than before they went in" (Lewis). Rosenthal is an eye surgeon and hearing this come from the person who is the one actually doing the Procedure should make you think twice about having the surgery done. Student C - Page 6 People may believe that LASIK eye surgery is the solution to their vision problems, but it is not. People need to be educated about the true risks of LASIK surgery. As LASIK ( becomes more popular, the amount of people who could ruin their eyesight will rise. Researchers need to use the data from failed procedures to create new protocols that are safer. Physicians need to be better trained so that they will be able to recognize and prevent mistakes. Patients need to be screened more carefully so that those most at risk will be advised of other alternatives. Until the major risks are eliminated or solved, people should avoid having the procedure. Despite its appeal, LASIK is not the answer. Student C - Page 7 Works Cited Ciccone, Jolm. "Quality of Life Improved Through Laser Surgery." Eye Surgery Education. 16 Oct. 2003. Online. Available http;llevesuH!erveducation.com/Newsroom.qualityoilifeimproved.htm. 25 Oct. 2007. Gibson, Helen. "Cover Story; R U Ready to Dump Your Glasses? Laser Surgery Can Work Wonders But there are Risks." Time International 1 Nov. 1999. Online. Available http://elibrarv.bif!chalk.com/libweb/elib/do/docu111ent?set=search&groupid=1 ®uestid. 23 Oct. 2007. "LASIK Eye Surgery Benefits." DocShop 2007. Online. Available http://www.docshop.c0111/education/vision/refractive/lasiklbenefits/ . 30 Oct. 2007. Lewis, Caro!. "Laser Eye Surgery; Is it Worth Looking Into?" FDA Consumer Magazine July-August 1998. Online. Available http://www.fda.f!ov/fdac/features!l998/498 eye.htm!. 11 Oct. 2007. Rogell, Gerald. "All About Laser Surgery." Diabetes Forecast I Feb. 2007. Online. Avai1able http;llelibrary.bigchalk.com/libweb/elib/do/ document? set=search& groupid= I &requestid. 23 Oct. 2007. Vollmer, Sabine. "Eyeing the Risks of LASIK Surgery." Seattle Times II Oct. 2007;A3.
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