I am stumbling on how to write what should be a simpleÂ part of my book, describing refractive errors. Why? Because I keep on wonderingÂ what and how much I should explain. Like, should I get into convex and concave lenses, and describe how the angle of light is changed? I keep asking myself, what audience am I writing for? How much is overkill and how much is not enough? How much do they want to know, and how much do they need to know in order to make a fully informed decision? Where does the line between geek and healthily informed lie?
I know my audience will at least be the kind that would consult a book before making a decision. But that doesn’t always guarantee a lot in the way of ability to understand.
On one of the LASIK horror story sites, a 28 yr old doctor who is a practicing family physicianÂ wrote about how bad of an outcome he had, with a slight overcorrection of +0.5 D. The way he wrote his entire story made me cringe. There wasÂ clearly aÂ lack of understandingÂ the difference betweenÂ anectodal vs statistical evidence. He seemed panicky and not very well informed about the very procedure he was to have done on himself, except to not have his eyes done bilaterally. I have never had LASIK and knew far more than he did. (Is that where geek factor comes in?)
Anyway, I really wouldn’t want this guy as my physician.
But his story is not so unusual. People have outcomes they are pretty satisfied with, and then stumble onto these sites and suddenly they are upset and frightened, and convinced their doctor was evil and misled them. I wrote aboutÂ researching those sitesÂ a few months ago, and recently got an interesting comment onÂ that articleÂ about how those sites causedÂ a satisfied patient’s anxiety, when she didn’t have any before.
As I read the one tonight, I was very disturbed by theÂ heavyÂ legal leaning it had. This one clearly seemed to me to be a recruiting site for litigation lawyers to fish for people to sue doctors. It certainly is to their advantage that previously satisfied refractive surgery patients become scared that they’ll go blind or live in debilitating pain for the rest of their lives.
Who really is seeking to make the big bucks in this business?