Although some ophthalmologists call Lasik one of the safest medical procedures you can undergo involving the eyes, how do consumers know this is true? The FDA has approved Lasik as a safe way to correct the need for glasses or contacts, but now that almost 10 million Americans have undergone the procedure, some are reporting alarming side effects. If you have already had Lasik or you are wondering whether you or someone you love is a Lasik eye surgery candidate, this is information is for you.
What is Lasik Eye Surgery?
Lasik stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis.” In the 1990s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began to allow the first lasers for use in correcting eye problems. Lasik eye surgery was thought to be the newer, safer alternative to the RK eye surgery procedure that manually cut the eye with a blade. RK surgery was used from 1978 until it was mostly abandoned for Lasik.
When someone who wears glasses or contacts undergoes laser eye surgery, an eye doctor will use an ultraviolet laser to reshape the cornea, or the clear dome that covers the eye, to either reduce the curve for people who are nearsighted, or increase it for people who are farsighted. Although the procedure takes only 15 minutes and is usually painless thanks to eye-numbing drops, many insurance companies still do not cover the surgery cost of $4,000+ because the procedure is considered elective. Most people who undergo thee surgery begin to see normally again shortly after the procedure and are often able to return to work the next day after.
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Lasik Eye Surgery Complications
In some ways, Lasik eye surgery seems almost too good to be true. After a lifetime of hassle dealing with glasses and contacts, a person can simply sit down in a Lasik eye surgeon’s chair and, 15 minutes later, their problems may be cured. But now that the long-term side effects of the surgery are coming to light, some people may decide that the procedure really isn’t as safe or pain-free as they once thought. Among the most common long term side effects of Lasik eye surgery are painful symptoms such as:
- double vision after surgery or blurred vision
- severely dry eyes
- extreme light sensitivity, especially when driving
- visual distortions that create rings around bright objects like oncoming headlights
- loss of contrast sensitivity, which allows the eye to distinguish shades of gray
Even more concerning, because a the laser is capable of injuring the eye by cutting tiny corneal nerves and thinning or weakening the cornea, opthamologists are beginning to admit that the nerve damage caused by Lasik can lead to long term neuropathic pain. A recent clinical study by the FDA showed that over half of Lasik patients suffered from one or more of these side effects three months after surgery. While eye doctors often tell patients that these complications will get better over time, over 40% of patients were still dealing with new eye problems just six months after surgery.
More Complex Complications
A smaller number of patients have reported even worse stories of this surgery, gone bad. Although not as frequent as some of the other complications, these side effects can cause serious, life-altering consequences. In some cases people have reported:
- Corneal ectasia, a condition involving abnormal curvature of the cornea
- Cataracts caused by surgery
- Increased difficulty detecting glaucoma
- Eye pain so severe that patients suffer from anxiety, depression, job loss, and even suicide
The more you know about long term laser eye surgery side effects, the better informed you are about Lasik if it’s right for you.
Even more alarming, you may be at a higher risk for becoming a Lasik horror story if you suffer from any of these conditions prior to the procedure:
- Severe dry eye
- Substantial degree of astigmatism
- Eyes with thin corneas or large pupils
- Eyes that have an unusual shape or scarring or other abnormality
- Neurological disorders, other conditions, or pain syndromes, such as anxiety and depression or frequent headaches
So, if Lasik has such dangerous side effects, why hasn’t the FDA stopped or limited the procedure? It turns out that once a medical device like a Lasik laser is approved, the FDA does little to monitor the long-term effects of the procedure that may not have been known when the device was being tested by the manufacturer. Even though patients have been reporting these problems to the FDA since at least 2008, nothing has been done to limit the use of Lasik. Although multiple studies have shown that the surgery can lead to severe eye problems, manufacturers are still not required to ensure that patients are warned about the complications that can result from operating on an otherwise healthy eye. If patients were counseled more thoroughly on the vision-altering side effects associated with Lasik, they might think twice about undergoing surgery on an eye that otherwise works fine with the aid of contacts or glasses.
Have Lasik Eye Surgery Complications Affected You?
People who may have been unable to recover from complications after Lasik eye surgery should contact us for a free case evaluation. We work on a contingency-fee basis.
If you or a loved one has experienced complications and has questions about what to do after Lasik eye surgery, you may be eligible to file a claim for medical costs, emotional distress and further damages. Fill out our free case evaluation form to see if you are eligible for a potential Lasik eye surgery lawsuit. An experienced attorney at Morris Bart will assist you in the evaluation process. Initial consultations are FREE. Click here to see more about our office locations throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Call us at 1-800-205-7284 today.