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Flunking social studies.

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Point-Five Past Lightspeed

September 24, 2011 |  by  |  Featured, Science  |  8 Comments

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.

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Laser Eye Surgery Primer: Lasik vs PRK

Laser Eye Surgery Primer: Lasik vs PRK

July 17, 2011 |  by  |  Science  |  49 Comments

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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