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Love/Hate Mail

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Eye strain

To provide a Best of Nashville 2010 award for the Best LASIK Surgery Center is an injustice to the thousands of people who have been injured by this surgery since its mainstream inception roughly 15 years ago ("Best of Nashville 2010," Oct. 7). I am one of the many victims of the damage caused by this unpredictable and rogue surgery, which has impacted my life for the worse. Yes, there are those who will tout the benefits of LASIK and will claim happiness with their outcome. However, the fact remains that LASIK doctors still remain unsure of the criteria that makes for a great LASIK surgery candidate. Other doctors will tell potential patients that they are good candidates anyway while disregarding much discussed red flags such as large pupil size and a predisposition to dry eyes.

It was three-and-one-half years ago that my friends and co-workers were basking in the glow of their successful LASIK surgeries. I heard nothing but stories about positive outcomes. The research I conducted on websites claimed a failure rate of only 1 percent. I thought the odds were in my favor and that it was a smart decision to lose the glasses after 37 years. Now, the failure rate has blossomed to over 50 percent, following scrutiny by the former FDA official in charge of approving lasers for LASIK. Studies with higher success rates are mostly conducted by the LASIK doctors who themselves have a vested financial interest in performing these surgeries. I was led to believe that LASIK was perfected, safe, and accurate. Now, I live in regret for making the worst decision of my life — allowing someone to cut and burn my precious eyes. ...

When I was researching LASIK surgery three-and-one-half years ago, I unfortunately and naively kept finding pro-LASIK websites sponsored by doctors who stand to pocket thousands of dollars by ruining a perfectly healthy pair of eyes. Now, there are 25 or more websites created by damaged LASIK patients warning others of their experiences with LASIK surgery. LASIK doctors will never be able to perfect upon God's wonderful creation. LASIK creates higher order aberrations which present themselves as starbursts and halos at night. Colors can look washed out in the daytime. ...

Any opthalmologist worth his weight in gold won't perform a surgery that damages healthy tissue. The bottom line is, well, the bottom line. LASIK surgeons continue to perform an unnecessary and dangerous surgery because they have a vested financial interest in perpetuating the lies and deception of the industry. The FDA, the State Board of Medical Examiners, and the doctors themselves have failed to provide accurate information regarding the success and failure of LASIK. It is too easy to tell someone they are 20/20 and that their surgery is successful, while disregarding symptoms such as burning, stinging eyes, glare, halos, and starbursts. It is up to damaged patients like myself to continue to tell my story about a harmful industry that continues to go largely unregulated.

Gerry Schmidt


A modest proposal for the Big Orange

I see where the University of Tennessee is looking for a new president. I have someone I'd like to recommend — John Morgan ("Schoolhouse Crock," Sept. 16).

But you say they have already accepted 70-plus applications and culled those down to five or so. Isn't it too late?  Not to worry. Those folks can just be sent a form letter saying, "Thanks, but no thanks."

But what about the qualifications? Shouldn't the selected person have at least some formal and actual knowledge and experience in the field of education, specifically higher education? No problem there. Our state has already established a precedent of changing those "requirements" to fit the chosen one. (The word "politics" comes to mind.)  

But how, you might ask, does such a person effectively perform in an organization filled (for good reason) with Ph.D.s and people who actually know something about education and have experience in that field? I assume the answer to that (based on the selection process used) is that decisions will be made with politics as the chief criteria. It's worked for us so far. (The word "arrogance" comes to mind.)

But in the end we can feel comforted in knowing the final decision will be made by wise, insightful people with nothing but the welfare and future of the institution at heart. Is that the way it worked with the Board of Regents or not?  

D. Truitt



In last week's "Best of Nashville 2010" issue, the item for Best Urban Music Magazine misspelled the name of Concrete magazine founder Bryan Deese. Also, in the article about ("Splices," Oct. 7), the names of founders Jonathan Frazier and Zach Prichard were misspelled. The Scene apologizes and regrets the errors.


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