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When Laser Eye Surgery Goes Wrong

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If you’ve seen a blurry world when you arise each morning because you cannot make out clear images without your glasses or contact lenses, you may be thrilled at the prospect of laser surgery to correct your impaired vision. After all, imagine a life with no worries about cleaning solutions, scratched lenses, or broken nose pieces. Who wouldn’t opt for a surgical cure for what ails you? But what if the promised solutions bring more headaches than glasses or contact lenses ever could have? In some cases, the assistance of a local attorney may be necessary.

Tales of Horror

 Complaints associated with laser eye surgery (LASIK) are tracked by the FDA. Individuals who experience problems may report issues voluntarily, which makes some officials fear that the number of unreported complications may be higher than we know. Some instances that have made it to the FDA include:

  • One individual’s surgery resulted in double vision in one eye. Corrective surgery was only able to achieve reducing the problem to “ghost images,” along with problems with improper light refraction. Ultimately, this person’s ability to determine distance, to focus, and to drive have been limited, and occasions of severe pain are frequent.
  • Another patient suffers from post-surgery dry eye, requiring costly therapy from a specialist. Additionally, starbursts plague the patient.
  • One physician reported seeing 21 patients who experienced disabling pain and photosensitivity. In fact, the agony was so severe that patients became suicidal.

Complications

Surgeons report a number of potential complications associated with laser eye surgery, including the following:

  • Neurotrophic cornea: When unexplained nerve damage creates unbearable pain;
  • Corneal ectasia: The development of astigmatism or keratoconus, resulting in a bulging cornea and worse vision, affecting roughly 160,000 patients in this country;
  • Halos, ghosts, and starbursts reportedly impact nearly half of patients;
  • Over one-fourth of patients suffer dry eyes following surgery;
  • Difficulty seeing in shadowy light is a problem for about one-third of patients.

FDA Response

The FDA has emphasizes the responsibilities that doctors have to their patients, including the need to provide sufficient warnings as to the limits and risks associated with the procedures being considered. The contraindications associated with each laser approved for such surgery are listed on the laser, and include the issues related to starbursts, halos, dryness, and pain, as well as the possibility that glasses or contact lenses will still be required post surgery.

Moving Forward

Besides the disappointment of not having the 20:20 vision you were hoping for post-operatively, you may be experiencing debilitating symptoms that impair your ability to work and play with ease. If your physician was negligent in the disclosure of risks associated with laser eye surgery, or in the actual treatment itself, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Contact the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton in Daytona & Ormond Beach today for a confidential consultation and assessment of your situation today.

Resource:

fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/SurgeryandLifeSupport/LASIK/ucm297512.htm