Spillane wrote his book, I, the Jury, in 19 days. So why did it take me 10 years to write and publish my book, Laser Treatment of Eye
First, Spillane’s book was fiction; mine was fact.
Second, the medical literature was extremely limited on
laser treatment of floaters. No book had previously been written. So, only four chapters in my book could be
based on information found elsewhere. The
information in Chapter 1 on the vitreous and floater formation is generally
known by ophthalmologists. The sources
for Chapters 5, 6, and 7 on YAG lasers and laser plasma physics are
footnoted. Chapter 7 on the Laser
Physics of Floater Obliteration was by far the most difficult and time
consuming to research, simplify, and write.
But the source for the remaining
24 chapters and the Appendix came almost exclusively from the author’s
performing the procedure, experimenting, trial and error, designing new
devices, modifying devices, and the many
research projects marked in the book. In
other words, I had to discover 80 per cent of the book contents before I could
write about it.
How does one remember 24
chapters of new information on every thing he learns from doing the
procedure? My method was to use buy a
spiral bound book, start doing the procedure, and at the end of every day write
down what I learned clinically. I’m
still doing this. What I learn now goes
into the book as revisions.
The third big problem was the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had not
approved lasers for this procedure.
So I performed a formal study of 200
consecutive, eligible cases that was submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration and done under the supervision of the INOVA Fairfax Hospital
Institutional Review Board. After reviewing my study and application, the Food and Drug Administration approved lasers
for this procedure.
The fourth slow down for this book was there were not enough patients in our practice with highly symptomatic
floaters for a large study suitable for publication in a peer reviewed
journal. Also, hoping to get referrals
from doctors for an unknown procedure were not realistic. The solution was to develop an educational web site so patients suffering from floaters
could refer themselves. This meant
learning something about domain names, web site construction, web site housing,
how to write a web site and how to supply the graphics. Fortunately the best domain name,
“eyefloaters.com,” was still available.
Within a few months our web site, www.eyefloaters.com,
was on line. To help gain the patient’s
confidence, an unusual amount of information was placed on our web site. There was an immediate response to our web
site. Because of the web site patients
from 49 states and 23 foreign countries were eventually recruited for our
The fifth hurdle for this book was its rejection by a major book publisher
because their medical advisor said “…at present there is no interest in this
subject.” By definition, that would be
true of any unheard of procedure. This
rejection was actually a bit of good luck because it stimulated me to take the
legal and business steps to found a
publishing company that performs traditional as well as internet commerce. In other words, I published the book. The great advantage is this publisher will
not lose interest in the book and take it off the market.
It has taken 10 years to perform the 2,000
operations on which this book is based, develop my techniques and devices,
complete the 15 research projects and studies reported here, and to write this
book. So far, over 250 eye surgeons have
bought the book and some are starting to learn the procedure. It is hoped that this book (the only way
doctors can learn this procedure) will eventually lead to this procedure being
widely offered to patients with visually significant floaters.