Laser Eye Surgery

In biology class we were gong over the anatomy of the human eye, when Dr. Cha our teacher began to explain to use the risks and danger of laser eye surgery. Being a farsighted person (myopia) that constantly needs to put on glass and contacts laser eye surgery seemed like the perfect solution. My doctor has even told me that I had to wait for my eyes to stabilize, before I would get the surgery. But after hearing all of Dr. Cha concerns with laser eye surgery, I decided that I needed to do more research on the topic.

The first step of the surgery is to apply anesthetizing drops, then the surgeon makers the eye to indicate where the flap will be cut and then replaced. A suction ring holds the eye still and pressurizes it so it is firm enough to cut. Then a micokeratome slices a tiny flap in the cornea.  The flap is moved out of the way but is still attached, and then the finally the laser removes tissue to reshape the cornea. The flap is replace on the eye. The link has video demonstration of the laser surgery. Some of the sides’ affects are infection and night glare, which are starbursts or halos when the patients are looking at night-lights especially when driving. Also it is possible that the surgery not takes affect and the visions of the patients worsen. So is it worth the risk? I think it is because I believe that the risk do not over power the benefits of having good vision. There are many professional benefits to having the surgery, especially for surgeons and pilots.

However, these implications got me thinking about the limitations of laser surgery. Through further researcher I discover that at the moment there is a laser eye surgery that can change the color of the eye to what ever color the patients wants. BBC News did a story on Dr. Gregg Holmer an American that is conducting clinical trials to study the effects of the surgery.

The process involves a computerized scanning system that takes a picture of the iris and works out which areas to treat. The laser is then fired. The laser agitates the pigment on the surface of the iris,” Dr Homer – the firm’s chairman and chief scientific officer – told the BBC. “We use two frequencies that are absorbed by dark pigment, and it is fully absorbed so there is no danger of damage to the rest of the eye. “It heats it up and changes the structure of the pigment cells. The body recognises they are damaged tissue and sends out a protein. This recruits another feature that is like little pac-men that digest the tissue at a molecular level.”.Since the pigment – called melanin – does not regenerate the treatment is irreversible.Lasers are already used to remove the substance in skin to help treat brown spots and freckles. Some of the limitations of this surgery however they haven’t been completely identified, further research has to be done.

There are many implication to this surgery, it causes us to question how far we will go to benefit our appearance, to what point are our the risk less important then our appearance? Also it causes us to think about te future of science, how will the science advance to further our cosmetic appearance? Through some of the research I found that a laser surgery that causes the eye to be completely white taking away all of the small red line. Just like other surgery there are many risks.


“Doctor Trials laser treatment to change eye colour.” BBC Media News Technology. 5 11 2011: n. page. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <>.

Handrill, Marilyn. “LASIK Risks and Complication.” All About Vision. n.d. n. page. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <>.

“Laser Eye Surgery: Risks and COmplications Exposed.” Laser Eye Surgery Hub. 26 10 2010: n. page. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <>.

Feig, Christy. “Clearing up picture on laser eye surgery.” CNN Health. n. page. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <>.

3 thoughts on “Laser Eye Surgery

  1. At the end of this post you mentioned the new surgery currently being developed to change the color of your eye by laser surgery. You discussed one reason why people wanted to change their eye color to “benefit our appearance.” Personally, I cannot condone getting this surgery done for cosmetic purposes, as I believe that people should be comfortable with who they are and how they look. Furthermore, changing your something such as your hair color is not the same as changing your eye color, and there are so many potential risks (too many when it comes to something as important as your eyes and eyesight). However, this reasoning gets pushed to the background when you consider a different reason for getting iris surgery: albinism. Albinism is a genetic defect where it is difficult to produce or distribute melanin.
    There are two types of albinism, one, oculocutaneous albinism is when people have white or pink hair, skin and iris color. This causes people to have very light sensitivity, such as photophobia and sun burning easily because of the lack of melanin to block UV light. Another type of albinism, called ocular albinism type 1 (OA1), affects only the eyes. The person’s skin and eye colors are usually in the normal range. However, an eye exam will show that there is no coloring in the back of the eye (retina).
    In either type because of the lack of pigment (melanin dysfunction) in the eyes, people affected by albinism often have photophobia, light sensitivity and vision problems. The lack of melanin in during development of the eye causes parts of the eye to form abnormally, compromising vision. Thus affected people have to wear sunglasses sometimes even inside.
    The iris in our eyes is responsible for opening and closing the pupil, letting light in. The retina then collects the picture with, with cone cells interpreting color and bright light and rod cells interpreting black and white and dim light. With the lighter irises the eye is not able to absorb a lot of the light, thus more light is allowed into the pupil and the retina poorly absorbs it. According to, “Light scatters in the eye, causing photophobia, an uncomfortable or painful sensation in bright light.”
    Now the surgery that you talked about in your post, to use lasers to change the iris color in eyes may not be able to aid people affected by ocular albinism, because it is the retina that lacks pigment not necessarily the iris. However, in oculocutaneous albinism, where there is lack of pigment in the iris, this surgery can be potentially helpful. By using the same technique of shining a laser into a person’s iris at specific frequencies, those with very little melanin will be able to absorb the darker pigment. Thus enabling the eye color change. With darker eye pigment simple things such as walking outside on a nice day can make it easier for those affected by albinism, not having to wear sunglasses all the time. This seems like a minor change but it will give more freedom to those affected. No longer will they have to wear sunglasses, and experience the outside world with a dark tainted color, but they can see things better and in their true colors. Furthermore, this will help them to even be able to go outside without sunglasses and without pain.
    There is another surgery that can be done, as an alternative to lasers, a type of plastic surgery where ocular implants can be used. Essentially, a flexible plastic lens with flaps on its edge will be inserted into the eye, over the iris, with multiple colors are available. However, this surgery is not approved in all countries and one must fly to Guatemala to have it done, spending about 5000 pounds. Furthermore, the research that I have done for this specific surgery shows many examples where these implants have led to vision problems for the wearers. However, if this surgery was completely unsuccessful 100% of the time it would not still be going on, thus there are a few cases of success.
    The problems associated with albinism, specifically the eyes is much more complicated than merely lack of color, thus, this surgery (even if it is fool-proof) is not enough to completely correct a person’s sight. Maybe in the future there will be a surgery to correct the melanin in one’s retina to help those with ocular albinism.
    What I was hoping to point out in this post is that there are some real medical reasons behind surgeries and we should not be so quick to judge having a surgery done if we think that it is purely for cosmetic purposes. Sometimes it isn’t, and surgeries such as these can be used to improve people’s quality of life. Moreover, there are multiple solutions to a problem and can be tackled in different ways, such as using lasers or placing a lens over the iris to change eye color.

    Additional Works Cited
    Peracha, Mohammed O. MD. (Oct. 13 2008). Ocular Manifestations of Albinism. Retrieved from
    Nasr, Susan L. (Nov. 29 2011). How Albinism Works. Retrieved from

  2. Every morning, I have trouble finding my glasses. It has been 9 years since I wore glasses, but I am not still used to not seeing things very clearly. When I was reading Joey’s post, the article reminded me of a conversation with my doctor. I vaguely remembered that there are two types of laser eye surgery, and I decided to research on them.
    The eye surgery that Joey explained in her post is called LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. However, as technology developed significantly, a new type of eye surgery is accessible to us now. It is called LASEK, or Laser Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratomileusis. It is a newer variation of PRK, PhotoRefractive Keratectomy, in which laser energy is applied directly to the eye’s outer surface for reshaping and vision correction.
    The two surgeries, LASIK and LASEK, are similar in that they are for refractive error correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. The studies, however, have shown that not all the people can recover their vision from LASIK. Before discovering why some people are inappropriate for LASIK, let’s see how it is operated. LASIK uses a microkeratome knife, which is a fine blade. The doctors cut and lift the epithelium and stroma, which are the flap tissues that are responsible for shielding and protecting our eyes. The epithelium and stroma are cut to a thickness of 100-180 microns, and then a laser ablates corneal tissue, which is located under the epithelial and corneal tissue flap. The corneal tissue is “reshaped” and the flap tissues are replaced back.
    By cutting and lifting both epithelium and stroma, LASIK required ablating more corneal tissues. However, some people have thin corneal tissue, which made them suffer from possible risks. For example, according to LASIK Directory, for those with thinner corneas, their flap may dislodge with trauma, which increases higher order aberrations (HOA-affects the contrast sensitivity and fine detail of vision, such as night vision, glare, contrast). Although LASIK surely takes shorter time to heal from surgery and also has less discomfort compared to those of LASEK, one should always choose the most appropriate surgery.
    Then, what makes LASEK such a special surgery? While LASIK cuts and lifts both epithelium and stroma, LASEK only cuts epithelium to only a thickness of 50 microns and most amazingly leaves stroma uncut. A trephine, a finer blade than that used in LASIK, is used to cut the epithelium. The corneal tissues are reshaped by the laser, and the epithelium tissues is replaced. The only potential drawback for LASEK is that it takes a few more days to heal than LASIK. During the healing time, there could be more discomfort; however, thinking about the future, a few more days of discomfort is worth it.
    As technology developed, we are opened to many options. Just like how we evaluate websites before trusting the information on there, we should do serious researches about possible options that we can take, especially for eye surgeries since it is dealing with an important organ. From this research, I once again learned that science is still expanding, and it is way out of my imagination.
    Work Cited
    Doheny Laser Vision Center, . “PRK/LASEK.” Doheny Eye Institute. (2005): 17. Web. 16 Jan. 2012.
    <a href=" Doheny Laser Vision Center, . “LASIK.” Doheny Eye Institute. (2005): 16. Web. 16 Jan. 2012.“>
    <a href="Doheny Laser Vision Center, . "LASIK." Doheny Eye Institute. (2005): 16. Web. 16 Jan. 2012.“>Doheny Laser Vision Center, . “LASIK.” Doheny Eye Institute. (2005): 16. Web. 16 Jan. 2012.
    “LASIK vs. LASEK Comparison Chart.” LASIK Directory. n. page. Web. 16 Jan. 2012 .
    Segre, Liz. “LASEK Eye Surgery: How It Works.” All About Vision. n. page. Web. 16 Jan. 2012.

  3. What struck me was how knowledgable Joey was in explaining the process of Laser surgery. He also related it very well to his own personal opinions, which in turn made him ponder whether the risks of the surgery overpower the benefits of good vision. This demonstrates a reflective approach to his topic, which he then goes on to list some of the limitations and implications of Laser surgery. Above all, though, Joey expresses his passion and curiosity in the topic that spurred him to research his topic further.

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