According to a recent New York Times article, studies show that some patients who undergo Lasik eye surgery report a variety of side effects that may persist for years.
A procedure perceived, and often marketed, to be largely risk free has many patients wondering why their surgeons never warned them that they could sustain permanent damage to their eyes. Lasik surgery, often viewed as a quick fix for those who want to free themselves of the need for glasses or contacts, sometimes makes seeing things clearly much worse.
“Lasik, short for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, claims to eliminate the need for glasses by reshaping the cornea, the clear round dome that covers the front of the eye”. Using an ultraviolet laser, surgeons reduce or accent the curvature of the cornea as needed to deliver the promise of improved vision.
However, some patients and their families have entirely different experiences after undergoing the procedure. As far back as 2008, stories emerged during FDA testimony about patients with who suffered “impaired vision and chronic pain, resulting in job loss and disability, social isolation, depression and even suicide” following Lasik surgery.
According to the NYT article, half those who undergo the procedure develop visual aberrations and a third develop dry eyes. Even years after the surgery, problems can persist. In a rare follow up of patients 5 years post-surgery, nearly half still symptoms of dry eyes, 20 percent were still experiencing pain, and one third had difficulty driving at night or doing work that required seeing up close.
Another study suggests that Lasik surgery can put patients at increased risk of serious eye complications too, which can include earlier cataract surgery or a condition called corneal ectasia, an excruciating condition believed to result from the removal of too much corneal tissue. One patient who developed the latter says he “is in so much pain” he is nearly suicidal and laments that his career as a 3D artist is “pretty much over”. He tells the Times that he goes to sleep beating himself up thinking “why did I not at least google the possible side effects and complications of Lasik?” The bigger question to ponder, however, is why didn’t his doctor warn him? Or the FDA who approved Lasik in the first place?
That’s what a group of patient advocates are fighting for. Led by a retired senior FDA official who regrets his role in approving Lasik, the group is calling for “strong public warnings” of the risk associated with Lasik surgery and have even petitioned unsuccessfully to withdraw approval for Lasik altogether citing manufacturers’ practice of underreporting or misclassifying adverse effects during clinical trials. At the very least, “ the FDA should warn the public that Lasik injures eyes and causes pain, vision problems and other persistent problems that cannot be solved…”, states the former chief of diagnostics and surgical devices branch of the FDA’s division of ophthalmic devices.
Of course there are some people that may benefit from Lasik surgery, but that does not change the fact that patients should have all the facts before signing on so they can make an informed decision. Only a good candidate for the procedure should move forward as determined by your doctor, but beware where there is money to be made. Proper screening is just part of the equation, however. A diligent and careful operation on the eyes is an absolute to avoid tragedies. Any amount of negligence in a delicate procedure such as Lasik can permanently alter a patient’s vision for the worse for the rest of their lives.
Suffering From Lasik Surgery Error
Contact an Iowa Eye Surgery Medical Malpractice Attorney For Help
If you or a family member has suffered from vision loss after a Lasik eye surgery operation, there may be damages you can pursue which may include pain and suffering, medical expenses to fix one’s vision, loss of wages and loss of consortium. For serious vision loss there may be damages for nursing assistance and disability also. Contact Des Moines eye surgery medical malpractice attorney Marc Humphrey to discuss your case and to receive a calculation of the damages that you can receive for a LASIK surgery error. No patient should have to suffer from vision loss following LASIK or any type of routine eye surgery. Call our offices today at 515-331-3510 for your free consultation.
Source: NYT, Blurred Vision, Burning Eyes: This Is a Lasik Success?, by Roni Caryn Rabin, June 11, 2018.