In July of 2011, I had PRK laser eye surgery done. Shortly before, I wrote up a Primer on PRK vs Lasik that the reader may find interesting (TL;DR: Lasik is a dodgy quick-fix, avoid it). Long before signing up for the surgery, long before going under the laser, I did a ton of research. I had been interested in having it done since 1998, and only got it done last Summer, when I thought the tech was finally there (I felt it had been for the past few years) and when I finally had the time and money.
This will be the first of several posts which serve as a journal detailing my experiences with PRK. I’ll update this page with links to the subsequent journal entries. I am also not going to argue the case of PRK vs Lasik any further in these accounts, but I am planning for sometime in the future a more comprehensive breakdown of the differences between PRK, Lasik, and the other forms of surgery.
I am not going to mention any names, as I don’t want my accounts to be mistaken for an endorsement for, nor a warning against, any particular surgery centres. Hopefully this information will be sufficient for any prospective patients to know what questions to ask of their PRK surgeon, and to know what they might be in for with the procedure.
It has been over 14 months since my PRK surgery, and I couldn’t be happier. I reached better than 20/20 vision three weeks after surgery, and have had practically no side-effects with my 20/15 vision since around the four-week mark. I was about -4 in each eye with an astigmatism of around 1.00. I see much better now than I did with glasses or contacts before and my eyes are actually less dry and less red than they were before surgery. I have had zero regrets about the procedure.
News of a potentially huge breakthrough in physics, that the Cosmic Speed Limit may have been violated, has taken the world by storm this past week. As a fan of science in general and physics especially, I am excited not only by the observations reported, but also by the fact that physics, of all things, is capturing the interest of the general population.
While we occasionally hear news reports on cosmology, updates on the age of the universe or beautiful glimpses at the jeweled treasures of our galaxy, and while the happenings at the LHC sometimes percolate up into the level of the general news, it is infrequent that these reports truly grab the attention and spark discussion among the wide population.
Yet the recent news that something has perhaps violated the ‘law’ that nothing can travel faster than light –a physical principle right up there with E=mc2, one which every child has known since they sat upon their mother’s knee– has been lighting up internet forums, social networking news-feeds, and office lunchrooms.
With this article, I’ll try to shed some light (har!) on the recent developments, and hope to share a bit of my enthusiasm (and skepticism) of the news.
I’m going in for PRK Laser Eye Surgery in a few days, and true to character I’ve done more than my share of research. I’ve learned quite a bit, and I’d like to share some of it with you. [Edit: Be sure to check out my follow-up account of the surgery: My Laser Eye Surgery, Part I: PRK Pre-Op Preparation and the forthcoming Part II] Unfortunately I don’t have the time to give this topic the full attention it deserves, so this post will be a primer on Laser Eye Surgery and especially why I think Lasik and other corneal flap-based methods are ill-advised compared to PRK and other surface ablation methods. See this as an advisement to seek further information.
Please don’t take my word for this. Please use this as a jumping-off point for your own research.
I don’t want this to be a ‘scare’ post, but I’ve spoken with many people recently who really didn’t know much about the laser eye surgery they had done, especially the complications specific to Lasik. I spoke with one man who had Lasik done, but he didn’t know that he had a flap cut in his cornea! Indeed he insisted that there was no flap. We did establish that he had Lasik, he had no pain and good vision the next day (definitely Lasik), but he was adamant that there was no flap to worry about. That was scary to me, because it means that, whether or not he was actually told about the procedure or about the flap risks, he certainly never understood the procedure, the risks, or the care you have to take with the flap.
In my experience with my own research of the available information on Lasik and PRK over the past 10+ years, and especially in the past several weeks, the practitioners of both procedures largely (or completely) gloss over the risks, and most patients make uninformed decisions. If people go in with eyes-open (ahem), then it’s their choice, but I hate to see people getting the wool pulled over their eyes (apologies again for the punnery).
If you’ve informed yourself and want Lasik, I’d suggest stopping here. However, if you’re unsure of the differences between the procedures, or if you are unsure of the risks of the procedures, you may want to continue reading. Please don’t take my word for this. Please use this as a jumping-off point for your own research.
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While a flock of robotic probes flit throughout the Solar System, treading intrepidly on alien soil, splashing radiantly through cometary comae, and dancing gaily with a myriad of moons across the floor of Saturn’s rings, one diminutive spacecraft trails behind the Earth, tagging along in well-trodden footsteps, falling further and further behind, as if the last, forgotten member of a scout troop who is distracted by the intricacy of the everyday that others ignore.
And while a fleet of telescopes sneak furtive glances at the exotic treasures of the cosmos, hunting hidden wonders among the bleakness of space, collecting jeweled specimens of the celestial menagerie, and capturing spectacular collisions of galaxies at the precise moments of impact that occurred billions of years before, that persistent spacecraft stares forever at a single part of the sky, reporting not with images, but in the inaccessible language of machines, focusing only on the imperceptible twinkling of a familiar neighbourhood of stars, as if peering into a stereoscopic image, waiting for magic to leap out of the mundane.
Despite its pedestrian journey and its mundane vigil, the Kepler spacecraft is nevertheless telling us a new and awing story of our universe, a story which finally begins to answer the question that humanity has for so long asked of the heavens: “Are we alone?”
These first tantalizing discoveries have been the stuff of nightmares, monstrous gas giants capable of dwarfing into submission Jupiter, the king-god of our solar system
Kepler’s mission is to find alien planets, worlds whose very existence we have long imagined, even expected, but never known with certainty. Until very recently, there was debate as to how many, and even if, other stars in the heavens could be home to planets like our own.
In a universe where rocky worlds are rare, precious quirks of stellar formation, notable for their physical improbability more than their features, the likelihood of life becomes remote, chances of its detection from Earth unlikely, our hopes of ever finding an extra-solar civilization absurd.
If however the laws governing our universe favour the formation of terrestrial worlds, if our sun, with its handful of planets and its gross of moons, each unimaginably varied and wonderfully unique, turns out to be exceedingly ordinary among the stars, then the sheer number of suns in our galaxy alone causes the boundless imagination of man to fall short in its ability to grasp the number and variety of worlds that can play host to life.