- Published: October 27, 2022
- Updated: October 27, 2022
- University / College: Boston University
- Level: Masters
- Language: English
- Downloads: 33
Your full February 16, Sight Unseen Michael Abrams’s article on Mike May’s surgery has opened a new horizon of learning and knowledge for curious learners like me. I have learned from May’s story that vision and learning are not interrelated concepts. May’s learning was limited to his blindness. When his vision was restored, he was still not able to conceive the world and its objects like a man with normal vision should do. So, we see that when man starts seeing when his critical period of learning has passed away, then his vision is going to do little good to him or, in other words, he will not be able to benefit from his vision because his critical period of learning has passed. He will always link objects with tactile experience because he has always used his hands to feel objects. May would close his eyes while skiing or coming downstairs because he was more comfortable with his mental maps that he had built over years without the help of vision. So, a blind man when given vision will always be frightened to use objects with the help of sight instead of touch. This is because he is comfortable with his old perception of things and is afraid of carrying out his daily activities in a different way. Sight is, no doubt, a pleasant experience for such a man, like May would see the beam of dust with amusement, yet this new experience will never be able to replace the old experience of touch and mental maps.
The effects of surgery seen in May and his responses to seeing the world around him can be related to the responses shown by a child, but the important thing here is that the learning stops to a great extent after the critical period has passed, and so the child will learn to deal with his new experience of sight much better than May did. For example, as Thompson and Madigan state in their book, “ there is no question that children are more adept at learning language than are adults.” The same is the case with the new experience of vision. The critical period ranges from birth to adolescence. A child would tackle the new restored vision much better than May did because of his learning efficiency.
The special thing about May’s surgical procedure was that it involved stem cell surgery in which the “ cells replaced scar tissue and rebuilt the ocular surface, preparing the eye for a corneal transplant”, as Abrams states. This kind of surgery did not leave scar on the cornea and thus the vision restored is not threatened by the cut or scar. This is a very efficient kind of eye surgery which should be done in adults provided the surgeon is well trained and experienced. Boyles writes in his article that “ the stem cell procedure resulted in successful corneal transplantation in three-fourths of patients with blindness in one or both eyes, caused in most patients by chemical or thermal burns.” Also, insurance should pay for this surgery so that more and more blind patients opt for this and get benefitted.
Abrams, Michael. Sight Unseen. N. p., n. d. Web. 16 February 2012. .
Boyles, Salynn. “ Stem Cell Treatment Restores Vision.” MedicineNet. com. MedicineNet Inc., 2010. Web. 16 Feb 2012. .
Thompson, Richard F., and Stephen A. Madigan. “ The Critical Period in Language Learning.” Memory: The Key to Consciousness. USA: Joseph Henry Press, 2005.
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