Using iSight, the high-tech built-in camera that comes standard with all new Macintoshes, plus specially developed third-party software called YourSight, doctors at the Orange County Laser Group (OCLG) are able to perform vision-correcting LASIK surgery on patients in the comfort of their own home (the procedure also works with some later models of the clip-on iSight).
In predictable fashion, the Luddites in the FDA are pooh-poohing this, saying that this new procedure "may cause permanent eye damage" if the high-speed Internet connection is lost midway through the "surgery," and that even patients whose eye surgery is successful may not take all the necessary follow-up precautions, such as applying the 1.5 liters per day of eyedrops doctors recommend during the first seventeen months.
This is the same FDA that refused to sign off on the sedative thalidomide back in the 1970s. Think how much faster it would have been discovered that this drug caused birth defects if the nosy US government had approved it, thus allowing millions of Americans to take it. Instead we had to wait for the Europeans to find out about all the problems. I, for one, am tired of letting other countries take the lead in scientific and medical discoveries just because Uncle Sam and the rest of Washington are all restriction-happy and want to play nurse, nanny, and mother to everyone.
Dr. Oscar Luong of OCLG says that lack of FDA approval "really means nothing" because the procedures are being performed in cyberspace where "there are no rules." Quoting Dr. Luong:
As long as YourSight is not specifically banned in the patient's home country, he or she can zap their eyeballs to their heart's content.Dr. Luong says he imagines a day in the near future where celebrity do-gooders tour Africa with a suitcase containing nothing but an Apple laptop and an Internet-capable cell phone, bringing relief to the nearsighted and those with small nose bridges.
During the software development phase, OCLG was worried that many patients would download pirated versions of YourSight to avoid the $300-per-eye cost of on-line LASIK surgery, usually paid through PayPal, but OCLG programmers equipped the software with a special anti-piracy feature that detects non-legitimate copies. Would-be patients using unauthorized software will receive a painful zap that will cause temporary blindness, usually lasting about 96 hours.
YourSight requires Macintosh OS 10.4.3 or higher, plus 1028 KB of RAM. MacBook or MacBook Pro recommended, but not necessary. Sphere: Related Content