Lasik Eye Surgery Gone Wrong Image

Lasik Eye Surgery Gone Wrong

What if we told you that one of the most common surgeries people undergo every day is actually really dangerous? Yes, a medical procedure touted to bring you perfect vision is actually often more of a nightmare. It’s estimated that over 700,000 people underwent LASIK eye surgery last year, but is the surgery really as safe as it seems? Is this another case of a medical advancement where more testing should have been done before release?

Every day we see examples of drug recalls because they prove more dangerous than initially thought. We see advertisements for new drugs with a long list of possible side effects. We hear the horror stories of people who have experienced complications after LASIK. In some cases, their eyesight is now more damaged. Make sure that you know the risks and possible side effects of LASIK surgery before you have the surgery.

Questioning LASIK

The fact of the matter is that LASIK may be another medical procedure that the government should consider recalling. These days, even the FDA regulators who were responsible for approving the procedure appear to be having doubts about the safety of the procedure.

The former head of the branch of the FDA responsible for checking the information about LASIK, Morris Waxler, had suspicions from the start. He didn’t think that the side effects were being taken seriously enough. Now, he even regards LASIK surgery as a mistake.

He says, “It’s right there in the record. The agencies and the refractive surgeons, people know these problems occur, and there doesn’t seem to be a plan to handle some of the more difficult problems that are created.”

Lasik Eye Surgery Gone Wrong ImageSome patients who’ve had the LASIK procedure report many side effects. They include halos, starbursts, double vision, glare, and night blindness. Some can’t even drive anymore because of the LASIK side effects. So is this surgery even worth it?

Some of the medical problems reported after LASIK eye surgery are:

  • a persistent decrease in keratocytes (corneal cells): it is unknown how this decrease affects the long-term viability of the cornea
  • severing and destruction of the corneal nerves which stimulate tear production, potentially leading to permanent Dry Eye Syndrome
  • permanent weakening of the cornea, which may lead to ectasia (corneal thinning and bulging) weeks, months, or years later, leading to vision loss
  • future problems when undergoing routine glaucoma screening and cataract surgery, prompting the FDA to recommend that LASIK patients obtain a copy of their LASIK medical record
  • starbursts around objects when viewers try to focus on them
  • double vision

There is some controversy over whether it’s the procedure or the surgeon at fault for the problems reported. In either case, the problems have been severe enough to have negatively impacted the lifestyles of many people.

It wouldn’t be the first time that inadequate record-keeping and error reporting was connected to medical procedures. The FDA issued warnings to at least 17 surgical centers for not having adverse event-reporting systems in place and functioning.

In other words, the problems that occurred during the LASIK surgeries were not being reported or documented properly. To get an accurate picture of the amounts and types of problems, the FDA has set up a website. People who have had an adverse reaction to the surgery are encouraged to report their mishaps so that the FDA has a better idea of the severity of the problem.

Waxler said that he feels the FDA should force LASIK surgeons to explain more fully to patients the possible side effects of the procedure. This way, people go into the surgery better informed.

How Large a Problem Is It?

Reports estimate that approximately 700,000 people will have LASIK surgery each year. But just how many of those surgeries will go wrong?

It’s becoming clear that for some people, LASIK is truly a nightmare. The fact is, doctors need further research to determine if there is a way to single out people who could have a bad reaction to the surgery. When it first came onto the scene, there was no data to support who should and shouldn’t have the surgery. This means that doctors also weren’t prepared to properly support patients who had bad reactions.

Just as some people are not good candidates for skin grafts because of their skin type or race, there may be some people who just are not good candidates for LASIK surgery. However, producers unfortunately rushed LASIK onto the market before they studied all of the possible implications. They didn’t take the time to establish guidelines on who might have serious side effects from it.

What Are the Next Steps?

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) joined the National Eye Institute and the US Department of Defense in 2009 to study patients who had LASIK surgery. Its purpose was to determine the changes in their quality of life after the surgery. This is an ongoing study in which they hope to establish predictors of risks for side effects. The hope is that the study will improve the understanding of LASIK surgery risks and reduce the number of people who have bad side effects from it.

Are There Alternatives to LASIK Surgery?

Luckily, there are a variety of other options if you are thinking of getting LASIK. Although many of the alternatives are still a type of surgery, most have fewer side effects. One example is Wavefront-Guided LASIK surgery, which customizes the lasers to the patient’s corneal shape. There’s also a procedure called Refractive Lens Exchange which literally replaces your natural lens with an artificial lens.

Recently, a researcher from Columbia Engineering discovered a non-surgical way to perform the LASIK procedure. It still uses lasers, but with lower wavelengths and higher repetition. So far, it appears to be safer than actual surgery, which is very promising. However, we need more studies and data before we can say for sure.

If you are considering the LASIK procedure, be sure to get all the facts about the risks you may be facing. For some people, this procedure may still be worth the risk, but you should make an informed decision. Speak with an experienced eye surgeon about the various alternatives to LASIK that might be better for you. You’ll be glad you did.

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Join or Start the Discussion

  1. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Regret says:

    The permanent dry eye that I now have because of Lasik is FAR more of a nightmare than glasses or contacts ever were. DO NOT get this procedure done. It is not regulated enough. It should be stopped completely. For what I paid for Lasik, I will be going far beyond that in optometrist visits, & prescription and OTC eye drops for the REST of my life. I’m not even 50 yet. Plus the TIME!!!….I got Lasik done for the freedom from glasses and contacts, now I spend time with an eye mask on my eyes 2-4x/day, 5-10 minutes each time, close my eyes for 1-2 minutes as prescribed after putting in prescription eye drops, and add drops regularly and frequently throughout the day. It’s totally defeated the purpose. There’s no freedom from it. It’s a prison. And I don’t know what the future holds either. What other symptoms are going to pop op in the years to come? And amazingly sad to say, I’m one of the lucky ones as far as complications go.
    Stick with your glasses and contacts PLEASE!!!!

  2. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Jarrod Reed says:

    doctors who screw up like they did on me should be shot along with all the other employees who will lie to you and tell you nothing will go wrong

  3. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Anonymous says:

    Hi did you have lasik because of cataracts? I’ve paid a lot already and now I just am plain scared- I don’t want to do it.
    advice please? I’m 61 yr old woman.

  4. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Nancy Burleson MD says:

    My son, Max Cronin, committed suicide after laser eye surgery due to devastating complications of severe hazing, pain, vision loss.
    A nightmare….all because he simply did not want to wear glasses.

  5. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Anonymous says:

    My dad just had the surgery done and the doctor cut his eye ball causing the guyts of the eye to come out of the incision. Now they are talking bout removing his eye due to blindness. Dont do it

  6. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Teresa says:

    I had lasik in 2003 on both eyes. The ring kept popping off on left eye and they would shove it back on each time. It really hurt and the pressure was tremendous and i felt like they were going to pop my eyeball out. I told them about the pain and pressure but they ignored me and kept going. After surgery i had pressure headaches, a busted blood vessel that grew something over my eye, i have optic nerve damage in both eyes, cataracs, cant see at night, blurry vision, cant focus on detail, high pressure, they think glaucoma, … My eyes never had high pressure, busted blood vessels, or any adverse problems before this surgery… The dr who did the surgery just scoffed off any complaints i had and told me none of the problems were due to the surgery, but would eventually get better. He just treated me for dry eyes and was really cocky to me and treated me like i was making up things… But years later i have been told that i have possible glaucoma, optic nerve damage, catarac, dry eyes, abnormal shape and abnormal pupils, and the thing that grew on my left eye is still there… Im miserable all the time with eye presssure and pain, no insurance and no money for drs. I wish i would never had lasik!!!! My eyes were beautiful, always bright and sparkly, one of my best features before the surgery, but now my eyes are red and bloodshot all the time and look shruveled up. I dont recall ever having a headache before the surgery but everyday since the surgery i have bad pressure headaches that feel just like the pressure i felt during the surgery.

  7. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Me too says:

    I had laser eye surgery at London vision clinic and it has screwed my eyes up. I was mislead by them from day one. Think long and hard before doing it.

  8. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen james reardon says:

    i had lasik surgery i lost sight in right eye to detatched retna need glasses to see up close and cant drive at night so dont have surgery it ruined my life

  9. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Jackie says:

    Theses are the only eyes i have i will NEVER get eye surgery i just don’t trust it

  10. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Shite says:

    My eyes are screwed from Lasik. Keep your glasses. If your glasses are thick people will say your eyes are unusual…Keep it natural.

  11. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Ali says:

    What about the PRK procedure?

  12. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Bessie says:

    I had LASIK and I wish I new about this course before I had it. My eyes are screwed. I have pretty much all of the side effects. I wish I had never had it done.

  13. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Pete says:

    Had lasak and the material grew back

  14. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Nancy Burleson MD says:

    Please report this to the FDA

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About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics (just like his brother) with the dream of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he joined Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent nearly two decades studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.


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