A popular Detroit meteorologist has died by suicide after going public last month with her health struggles following laser eye surgery. The death of Jessica Starr, who had worked at WJBK Fox 2 since 2011, was announced by her tearful station colleagues on air this morning.
Watch the station announcement and tribute below.
“Last night we were informed of the heartbreaking news that our friend and colleague, meteorologist Jessica Starr took her life,” Fox 2 said in a statement. “All of us here at FOX 2 are in deep shock and cannot believe that such a wonderful, bright and intelligent individual will no longer be with us. Her family and friends will be in our thoughts and prayers in the coming days as we all deal with our grief.”
Starr underwent laser eye surgery in October to correct her vision. She chronicled the treatment in Facebook posts, explaining that she’d worn contact lenses for 23 years and “had a really high script.”
But after taking four weeks off post-surgery – an unusually long recovery period – Starr briefly returned to her job and Facebook on Nov. 13, posting a video explaining her absence and saying, “I am struggling a little bit so I do still need all the prayers and well wishes.” She reported dimming vision, and said that, though her doctor explained her recovery could take up to three months, she was “trying to stay strong.” She asked viewers for tips and advice, and though visibly distressed, also spoke about the good Halloween she’d just had with her two children.
While the American Refractive Surgery Council, an organization comprised of industry representatives and medical professionals, states that “the risk of significant, sight-threatening LASIK complications is an extremely low 1 percent,” other reports suggest more troublesome results. In a New York Times article last June, the newspaper wrote of a report that found nearly “half of all people who had healthy eyes before Lasik developed visual aberrations for the first time after the procedure,” and that nearly “one-third developed dry eyes, a complication that can cause serious discomfort, for the first time.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs confidential help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.