Our beloved fatherteacher Ben Popken seems just fine with his newly lasered eyes, but not everyone sees such great results, says Reuters: “Blurred vision, dry eyes, glare and double-vision have led to depression and in some cases suicide, several patients told a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel.” These patients want the FDA to take a more active role in regulating the LASIK industry (currently the FDA regulates the equipment but not the people who use it).
Several unhappy patients at the advisory meeting faulted their surgeon for not ruling them out as a poor candidates for LASIK, or for failing to stress the severity of possible side effects.
The number of complaints the FDA has received is relatively small, only 140 between 1998 and 2006. Still, that’s 140 people who didn’t benefit from LASIK, and who potentially ended up with worse vision. (This writer worked with a woman who had LASIK in the late 90s and suffered from worse vision as a result—so it does happen.)
The FDA is also planning to begin a study on LASIK patient satisfaction in 2009 along with the National Eye Institute and two industry groups: the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Patient and consumer advocates at Friday’s meeting objected to the groups’ involvement with the study, citing conflicts of interest. Industry representatives said it would help them understand why some patients are unhappy with their LASIK results.