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Super seeing, US Military Eye Enhancement

by Jonny Hankins [1], 2 August 2012

Last week the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published an article that touched upon a topic that readers of the Foundation website will be familiar with and may be interested in.

The article is in Italian and can be found here [2], but I would like to describe it briefly for our English language readership.

The topic under discussion is of Lasik treatment, the correction of eyesight defects using laser treatment. The US military is a great believer in the advantages of having employees with naturally good sight as glasses and contact lenses can be problematic in military situations. The surgery is offered free by the military and other forces and over 230 000 personnel have had the operation.

The results look to be quite extraordinary, with practically 94% having better than perfect 20/20 vision. This is obviously of great interest to military command, and the article talks about surgery carried out on healthy eyes merely to improve vision, not therefore corrective.

The article quotes the Director of the US Navy Refractive Surgery Program David Tanzer, who states that a new program has started to give super vision to selected US military personnel. This article [3] explains the procedures and advantages from Tanzer's own point of view. I have conducted my own web based research however and cannot find any reference to this fact on any government or military related website.

The question raised is obvious though, why not improve the eyesight of your military personnel if you can?

Following on from these question I would like to point readers towards a couple of articles on this website that treat this and related issues.

Jeff Ubois has broached this argument through his blog. A scroll through the chronology [4] reveals some interesting reading and mentions of human enhancement abound.

In December of last year Virginia Sanchinni posted an in depth report on the Ethics, Human Enhancement and Genetics workshop [5]that took place in Milan in September of that year. The report contains video, photos and abstracts from the participants.

I myself wrote an article on the Technology Bloggers website entitled 'Prosthetic Limb Technology and Elective Amputation" [6] that deals with the question from a slightly different perspective.

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(photo: inside my right eye [7] by richard winchell from Flickr)

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  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Jonny Hankins
  2. 2] http://www.corriere.it/salute/12_luglio_28/alla-ricerca-della-ultravista_e9a8ddfa-d874-11e1-8473-092e303a3cd5.shtml
  3. 3] http://www.getilasik.co.za/pages/shownews.aspx?v=t&ID=b4d54bd0-72e9-4827-951f-ebd6e931fa9e
  4. 4] /en/ubois/listacrono.html
  5. 5] /en/focus/2011/12/ethics_human_enhancement_and_g.html
  6. 6] http://www.technologybloggers.org/science/prosthetic-limb-technology-and-elective-amputation/
  7. 7] http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardwinchell/76177014/
CC Creative Commons - some rights reserved.
cc - by richard winchell from Flickr
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