Botched LASIK Eye Surgery Leads To Corneal Transplant

The vast majority of the time, LASIK eye surgery works out just fine. Then there are stories like Patrick’s. He was a “perfect” candidate for LASIK eye surgery according to both the doctor who performed the procedure and other experts who reviewed his records later. After the procedure, however, he began to lose vision in his left eye, and eventually had to have a corneal transplant. Patrick’s detailed account of how LASIK Plus reacted–stringing him along with multiple visits and the wrong diagnoses, misplacing his records, and denying any responsibility–has left him feeling he should share his story with the rest of the world.

My name is Patrick Sheahan. I had LASIK eye surgery at the age of 23. When I went in for a consultation at LASIK Plus they said I was a perfect candidate. I was only -1.25 in each eye and could almost make do without glasses.

After the LASIK surgery my left eye slowly started to deteriorate. I was getting dizzy spells and migraine headaches daily. I started taking pain killers. I went to my optometrist to see if I could get a pair of glasses because all I could see out of my left eye was light. She told me that my left cornea was severely damaged and it was shaped like a football.

I immediately made an appointment to see Dr Gerald Horn of LASIK Plus, the man who performed my LASIK surgery. He made me and my grandfather wait for 5 hours in the waiting room. When I finally got in to see him he admitted there was a major complication and blamed the laser not himself. Dr Horn said that there may have been a malfunction in the laser and there was nothing he could do for me.

Dr Horn was very rude to me and my grandfather. He rushed us out of his office before answering all of our questions. He told us he had a meeting to go and if we had any other questions we had to make another appointment.

In the following weeks I consulted many corneal experts who came up with the same conclusion that I needed a corneal transplant. After a proper donor was found I had had my transplant done on July 10, 2003. A corneal transplant is not a pleasant procedure. They cut the cornea out of your eye, replace it with a donor’s cornea and in my case it took over 30 stitches in my eye. The removal of the stitches is done a few at a time, only when the stitch loosens with a needle like instrument while you are conscious, which resulted in numerous doctor visits.

I had to pay 18,000 dollars for that surgery. I also paid 4,000 for a lens implant procedure done on October 14, 2005. My doctor has told me to prepare for many other future procedures and that my cornea can reject at any time.

So far I have lost almost 2 years of income as a police officer and have depleted my entire savings including my 401K. I have since been able to return to work, however had to be assigned to a different division (because of my eyesight) with a lesser rate of pay. I will never be able to work the street again.

I consulted a lawyer who paid experts to look over my files. In Illinois I was told you need an expert witness to testify on your behalf. After further investigation I found out that all of these experts were LASIK eye doctors themselves and were very reluctant to testify against each other.

I am not trying to scare people with my story I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else. My story is also on LASIKsucks4u.com and LASIKpluseye.com my other website.

LASIKplus continues to use false advertisement as the story below indicates. They made me believe that the worse complications would never lead to blindness. I went blind in my left eye and my only option was a corneal transplant. The worst part of my ordeal was the way LASIKplus and Dr. Gerald Horn treated me after the complication. Dr. Horn offered me no options of how to correct my vision nor did he show any sympathy towards me.

One corneal expert i saw before my transplant told me that LASIKplus is known as as a fly by night large company that heavily advertises but does not deliver quality service. He said LASIKplus is a huge company known not to attract the best doctors. To be fair to LASIKplus he also said after looking at my files he saw nothing definitive that LASIKplus did wrong. Many top corneal experts came up with that same conclusion. They said they were baffled by my outcome because i was a perfect candidate and it should of been an easy surgery.

It’s scary that something like this can happen and top experts in this field cant explain it.

You can read Patrick’s chronological account of everything that went wrong with his surgery at his website www.LASIKpluseye.com.
(Photo: | spoon |)

Comments

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  1. MaliBoo Radley says:

    I hate to be a pussy, but it’s stories like this that keep me from getting Lasik.

    For now, I’ll stick with my glasses and contacts.

  2. catcherintheeye says:

    @radleyas: unless I’m already blind, there’s no way in hell anybody is going near my eyes with a laser. I’m fine with glasses.

  3. statnut says:

    It’s said that this man seems to have no legal recourse, and lost years of income to a bad procedure.

  4. tcp100 says:

    No surgery is without risks, and I am surprised at how often people take on things like Lasik without understanding the risks. This story is a good one to learn by.

    It’s a little shocking that the FDA allows companies to market Lasik as if it were an oil change for you eyes. I get a sick feeling whenever I hear these radio commercials bragging “Only $299 PER EYE!”

    I’ve known lots of people who have been thrilled with Lasik surgery – but others who have had some complications.

    Before you go and do it, please look up exactly what the LASIK procedure is. It’s not as simple and pretty as you might think – and there’s a little more cutting involved than just a laser zapping your eye.

  5. apotheosis says:

    I knew this LASIK thing was a bad idea the first time I saw Logan’s Run.

  6. ? Final ? says:

    My optomotrist told me on my last vist that my vision not only stablized but has gotten better over the past 3 years and if I thought about Lasik… I asked her if my eyes were getting better why would I need it…

    Anybody worried about going Blind or having cronic headaches isn’t a wimp they’re smart.

  7. tcp100 says:

    @statnut: Unfortunately he probably signed a waiver saying he understand and accepted responsibility for all the risks.

    Surgery is surgery, and surgery is dangerous.

    I wish someone would mention this to parents who let their teens get nose jobs and such. I’m trying to remember the details but here in the DC area, some wealthy parents got a local HS girl implants for her 18th birthday. She died due to sepsis after an infection due to the surgery.

    FYI, part of the procedure:


    “A corneal suction ring is applied to the eye, holding the eye in place. This step in the procedure can sometimes cause small blood vessels to burst, resulting in bleeding or subconjunctival hemorrhage into the white (sclera) of the eye, a harmless side effect that resolves within several weeks. Increased suction typically causes a transient dimming of vision in the treated eye. Once the eye is immobilized, the flap is created. This process is achieved with a mechanical microkeratome using a metal blade, or a femtosecond laser microkeratome (procedure known as IntraLASIK) that creates a series of tiny closely arranged bubbles within the cornea.[4] A hinge is left at one end of this flap. The flap is folded back, revealing the stroma, the middle section of the cornea. The process of lifting and folding back the flap can be uncomfortable.”

    LASIK is a bit more serious than most people think.

  8. juiceboxonfire says:

    Is the damage definitely because of the Lasik? A co-worker of mine a few years ago tried to sue them because of some eye problems that were actually a genetic defect. It was a problem similar to stuff other Lasik patients had.

    Every time I hear stories like this, it makes me feel really lucky that I haven’t had any problems with my eyes being zapped.

  9. Pasketti says:

    Cue the Simpsons episode “Bart to the Future”…

    Bart: [rings bell] Flanders is a soft touch. He’ll give us the money for sure.
    [Ned answers the door. He’s wearing dark glasses and carrying a cane]
    Ned: Jesus? Is that you?
    Ralph: Mr. Flanders, you’re blinded-ded!
    Ned: Oh, yeah. I never should have had that trendy laser surgery. It was great at first but, you know, at the ten-year mark your eyes fall out.

    (From: [www.snpp.com])

  10. puffyshirt says:

    @radleyas: I feel the same way. Contacts and glasses are a small price to pay to not worry about losing my vision.

  11. satoru says:

    @tcp100: Yeah I wanted to get Lasik but the clinic I went to said my cornea was too thin so I wasn’t a candidate. A bummer, but in a sense I’m glad they were honest with me perhaps some other shady place would not have been so forth coming.

    I’m debating getting a lens implantation back in my home town of Toronto, where lots of cutting edge Lasik and other eye care is done (Tiger Woods did his Lasik in Toronto). But the after care would be difficult as I live in Boston now, and I know it’ll be important to do lots of follow up work. Guess it’s more trips to Asia for me to get my super duper thin lenses.

  12. twstinkers says:

    You know, there are always horror stories associated with many medical procedures, many of them never reach the media outlets because it is bad for business. Any procedure involving the eye or vision should be considered very carefully before getting it done because who knows what the outcome will be. My advice, unless you are really incapacitated by your vision and glasses or contacts don’t really help, only then should you get LASIK surgery. Too many quacks out there making life-altering mistakes with people’s vision.

  13. ionerox says:

    I think it’s important to emphasize that the procedure was done by the LasikPlus group- I plan on getting PRK done on my eyes (Lasik isn’t an option for me), and I am very comfortable with the doctors at the practice I’ll be getting it done.
    A procedure of this impact really requires you to find out about the person who’ll be performing the surgery, recommendations from other doctors, their track record, etc.

  14. tcp100 says:

    @satoru: Wow, good for them actually. A lot of these LASIK places are basically surgery mills, where they try to turn through dozens in a day.

    I just don’t understand who’s falling for the commercials I’ve seen?

    Who goes around thinking “Hmm, I need surgery on my eyes, where can I find the best bargain?”

    I dunno, I’d be a little hesitant to have my cornea ablated by someone who advertises “buy one eye get one free” during the Morning Zoo.

  15. WickedKoala says:

    Explain to me why you’d even want to go through this kind of procedure if your vision is not even that bad to begin with.

  16. henwy says:

    I got Lasik surgery at one of those LasikPlus centers around 7-8 years ago and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I had horrible vision and used to wear incredibly thick glasses. I was basically blind as a bat without them. Lasik wasn’t able to get me to 20/20 because of an astigmatism, but it got me close enough that I’ve never bothered with glasses or contacts since. I think I payed around 1k per eye at the time, and it remains some of the best money I’ve ever spent.

  17. IphtashuFitz says:

    I’ve worn glasses since about the third grade, and contacts since I was a teenager. Despite knowing a number of people who have had successful LASIK surgery (and other types) I just don’t think it’s worth the risk. I also know a few people who ended up with minor problems like dry eyes, startlight effects at night, etc. I find it amazing that so many people are willing to risk their eyesight on such a procedure. Maybe it’s the fact that I had an aunt who was blinded as a teenager as a result of botched surgery done on her kitchen table back in the early 1900’s…

  18. IphtashuFitz says:

    @satoru: Since you live in Boston you might want to check out what options are available at the Mass. Eye & Ear Infirmary. They’re right next to Mass. General Hospital. My mom had some major eye surgery there a few years ago and will likely need some cataract surgery there shortly. They did an excellent job on her and she was very glad to have had the work done there. Another alternative is the Lahey Clinic up in Burlington. That’s where my eye doctor is and I’ve been very happy with him. I talked to him once about LASIK and he said that he could refer me to a LASIK group if I really wanted to pursue it. I don’t recall if the LASIK group was at Lahey or just affiliated with them, but since Lahey has a very good reputation I’d be more than happy with a recommendation by them.

  19. littlemoose says:

    I would urge Patrick not to give up on a legal claim. It may take some time, but finding an expert to testify would be worth it. Given the serious harms he has suffered, he shouldn’t let this guy off the hook. Watch the statute of limitations too.

  20. timmus says:

    This is why we need open medical review sites like ratemds.com. The state agencies don’t do jack except in gross misconduct cases, the medical trade associations are purely damage control, and malpractice lawsuits don’t do much except presumably against the worst offenders. Us consumers need to be much more empowered to make informed choices and to protect ourselves against crappy physicians.

  21. ThunderRoad says:

    Swell. I had LASIK about a year ago and my right eye has deteriorated continuously. First response by the surgeon was to say I just needed “touchup” and then suddenly he declare “welp, this just happens with old age”, which is odd since I’m 37 and that doesn’t explain how it went from 20/30 at 6 months to 20/350 now.

    Headaches, migraines, inability to concentrate or sleep because of the constant pain. My life is glorious now!

  22. Yowzers, I feel really bad for anyone who has problems recovering from Lasik or any eye surgery. I had mine done close 8 years ago or so and never had a problem, but my mom tried to go the bifocal route (one eye for distance, one for up close) and had a lot of reoccuring issues after the surgery was done.

    I agree with others that we need better ways to rate docs, but I fear that people can abuse that venue just as much as docs can hide behind state run review boards that don’t always publish results on MDs.

  23. Maddod says:

    I had my laser eye surgey done at Focus Eye Center(www.focuseye.com)… I got the PRK surgey instead of the Lasik because I wasn’t very comfortable with the idea of a corneal flap (PRK doesn’t require any cutting). Not only were they straight forward and honest about the risks, but the surgery itself was performed by the doctor who founded the center. I went from -3.75 to better than 20/20 vision. For anyone interested in laser eye surgery, here’s my advice:
    1) Don’t skimp out – you’ll miss your vision a lot more than a couple thousand dollars
    2) Don’t trust a center with ‘progressive’ pricing plans. If the lifetime warranty is an option, you’re in the wrong place
    3) Make sure you can meet with the surgeon BEFORE the surgery. They can answer your questions, and you’ll be more comfortable the day of the surgery
    4) Lasik is quick, cheap and painless, but there are considerable downsides. If you’re younger, PRK places fewer restrictions on what you can do with the rest of your life.
    5) If you decide to get PRK, give yourself time to heal. It’ll be at least 5 days before you’re back in action.

    It’s not the right choice for everyone, but if you do the research and pick the right place (Focus Eye had a 0% blindness rate), you can minimize the risk.

  24. chrisgeleven says:

    My mother, aunt, and uncle all had LASIK about 8-years-ago and had no issues at all.

    I think most LASIK issues come from choosing the cheapest LASIK option out there and not doing proper research to find the best LASIK doctors.

    I know when I end up choosing LASIK, it is going to be with the best LASIK doctor I can find.

  25. If the machine was faulty, there must be recourse there.

    Also, would not that faulty machine affect others?????

  26. MsCongeniality says:

    A co-worker of mine wanted to get laser surgery done under a deal that dropped the price if you brought a ‘buddy’. When he approached me about doing it, I told him that unless he could guarantee me that my vision wouldn’t change again, thus rendering the laser surgery useless, I wasn’t going to do it.

    Needless to say, he found another buddy.

  27. dirk1965 says:

    Most of the time you get what you pay for. In my case, I spent $5,500 eight years ago for my Lasik and have had a complication of having slight double vision since that time. My surgeon is actually one of the best in the business and is also on the FDA board, but I still feel he is not telling me something about what has actually caused the complication. He keeps on bringing up the fact that I have a LOT better vision than before the surgery, but my response back to him was to get rid of my glasses. So now, I still have to wear glasses to read or do computer work which is my profession. All I know is that even when my vision was at its worst, I could remove my glasses and plant a book at the end of my nose and still not have the double vision problem I have now. I need to find a really good, nasty lawyer!

  28. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Warning signs of a potential bad Lasik experience..

    * Advertises in those weekly coupon books/flyers you get in the mail.
    * Advertises heavily on tv and/or radio.
    * Boasts about “X” thousand surgeries performed.
    * Has a waiting room full of patients waiting to get the surgery on a given day.
    * Offers too good to be true pricing.

    To sum up the above, stay away from high volume discount Lasik doctors. And stay away from those Lasik franchises. And make sure the doctor performing the surgery actually has a background in ophthalmology, and isn’t just a general practice doctor that took a weekend seminar in Lasik surgery.

    It’s been over 8 years since my Lasik, and it’s been good so far. I would only recommend it if you’re vision is really bad. If you lost/broke your glasses and you are still able to drive a car and perform other daily functions, then you should not get Lasik. You have very little gain and a lot more to lose.

  29. DeepFriar says:

    Ben was/is a cop?

  30. steve says:

    Are all the LASIK expert witnesses in Illinois? I don’t know about IL state law but a lot of states use a national standard of care when it comes to medical malpractice. Basically the doctor has to live up to the standard of the reasonably competent laser eye surgeon, and you might be able to get an expert from anywhere. On the other hand the defense would no doubt have a expert witness too.

    If you don’t have proof the doctor did anything wrong, you might be able to create a presumption of negligence by showing that when eye problems like this occur, more often than not they are caused by negligence. But then you’d have to have some idea on how often this happens. Take your lawyer’s advice then, because IAN one.

  31. syndprod says:

    While the radio ads blaring “$299 per eye!” are cringeworthy, here’s something that’s worse… I’ve seen billboards along I-95 in Philly for a place that does both LASIK surgery… AND laser hair removal at the same office.

  32. teapartys_over says:

    I’ve had terrible vision since I was little, and I have never once been tempted by this surgery (or its predecessor, something a little more primitive w/o lasers). I don’t get what the big deal is about putting in contacts. Glasses can be a pain sometimes, so I can see it if you can’t wear contacts. But my contacts correct me to 20/20, and I wear them all day and never even think about them – so why would I do something more radical when the long-term effects haven’t been studied because it’s so new? I just have a visceral aversion to letting a laser or knife near my eyes, and I think that has served me well.

    Since most people do fine with contacts, I wonder why they bother with this risk at all. Anyone care to explain?

  33. kittenfoo says:

    Of the three people I know who had Lasik, all three still have to wear glasses at least some of the time. Probably a statistical fluke, but makes you wonder what the point is.

  34. Hawk07 says:

    @kittenfoo:

    I asked my optometrist about it once and he told me what the threshold for a “successful” surgery in the LASIK peoples eye is and it’s not anywhere near 20/20 or 20/15. It’s more common than you think that people end up still needing a slight prescription.

  35. chrylis says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat: Actually, having a doctor who’s performed a large number of surgeries really does matter for LASIK. Unfortunately, many surgeons have far too little training, and cutting the flap can be a tricky business. Also, the firm where I had my PRK done typically has a waiting-room full on the three days a week they do surgeries, but they have a very skilled set of ODs and nurses who move you through a well-rehearsed assembly-line style process and can answer questions or discuss concerns about any phase of it.

    @kittenfoo: I chose PRK instead of LASIK because of the lower risk of complications, and I need a contact in my left eye (though I’m considering an enhancement when it stabilizes). However, I’ve gone from not able to read my alarm clock to about 20/50, which is literally a life-changing improvement, and while it’s too often used as an excuse by surgeons, there is a heck of a lot of personal variation in healing patterns that can strongly affect outcomes. I had my eyes done at different times, and they were able to use my final results in my left eye to fine-tune my right’s treatment; so far, it does appear to have helped.

  36. chrylis says:

    @teapartys_over: Before surgery, I wore GP (hard) contacts and had vision somewhere between 20/15 and 20/12. However, I couldn’t do anything without corrective lenses–I had to make sure to put my glasses in the same place every night because I literally couldn’t see to get them in the morning.

    I definitely do not have perfect vision now (after PRK), and I may go back to GP’s in the future; multiple optometrists, including family friends, have said that no other option can match them because of the custom-machined rigid surface. However, I can get up, walk around, and post on Consumerist without glasses or contacts, and, perhaps most important to me, when my recovery is finished I’ll finally be able to swim again–one thing that’s hard to do with contacts and impossible with glasses.

  37. starrion says:

    My results were excellent and still are. My glasses are now unneeded relics awaiting donation.

    That said, there are real risks. That’s why I shelled out some serious cash to have it donw right.

    As one comedian said:
    And now you can have a vasectomy done on an outpatient basis by your doctor.
    Notice I said YOUR vasectomy.
    Mine will be done at the Mayo clinic by a crack team of surgeons with years of experience.

  38. ionerox says:

    @syndprod: OMG! Do you think they use the same lasers? :)

  39. MikeB says:

    @radleyas: I had Lasik done about 2 years ago and have been very happy with the results.

  40. PinkBox says:

    My lasered eyes are trembling after reading this.

    But hey, at least they could read this story.

  41. teapartys_over says:

    @chrylis: Yeah, I’m in the same boat: Uncorrected, my vision is -10 in both eyes. When i was younger it was a real pain because glasses and contacts were so expensive, you had one pair and god forbid you lose them. But now with disposable lenses it’s no big deal. I can’t open my eyes underwater without a mask, but that doesn’t really bother me. When I swim I just close my eyes when I dunk my head, it’s become second nature. But I guess everyone has different levels of tolerance.

  42. blackmage439 says:

    It just goes to show you: don’t f*&% with what you’re given. I’ve seen cops with glasses. A couple hundred or less could have solved what this guy has drained his 401k trying to solve. The whole LASIK business is shady and fly-by-night to begin with. Why would you put yourself in that sort of vulnerable position? Sure, the vast majority of the operations go swimmingly, but when it goes wrong, you are royally screwed, which the LASIK commercials certianly don’t tell you. Drug companies have no problem with listing the myriad of symptoms that their products cause; how in the hell does LASIK get away without proclaiming “THIS OPERATION CAN CAUSE BLINDNESS!” Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  43. m4ximusprim3 says:

    @blackmage439: Yeah, and all black people are criminal drug addicts. Way to generalize there, ace.

    Many extremely reputable eye surgeons run very effective lasik centers, with under 4% return rates (that’s all returns, even just for touch ups).

    The bottom line is, you get what you pay for. If most places charge $2500 per eye and lasikPlus can do it for $800, don’t you think it would be prudent to question why?

  44. I have been considering lasik for years, but never wanted to take the risk of screwing up my eyes. Glasses work fine.

    It’s safer then what they had before though PK i belive it stands for photokeratometry or something like that

  45. Hawk07 says:

    The majority of people get LASIK and probably do fine. But, I don’t want to be a statistic and until this “science” is about as routine as an oil change, I won’t be putting my eyes anywhere near it.

  46. ellastar says:

    @teapartys_over: I got Night & Day contacts a few years ago and they were great. It was so nice to be able to wake up in the morning and see clearly (my prescription is -7.00 to -7.50, which is really bad). However, one time I kept the contacts in too long because I hadn’t gotten a new set. My eyes rejected my contacts (couldn’t wear them at all for a week) and they haven’t been the same since. My current doctor said that the Night & Day contacts were some of the best out there, but I went with another type because I just couldn’t wear them. My contacts work decent during the day, but I hate using them to read.

    I’ve always wanted laser surgery, mostly because I’ve always had such bad vision. My one desire is to be able to see clearly and not have to worry about putting my contacts in or taking them out before I sleep. My eyesight is important to me though, and my doctor made sure to impart on me the importance of researching doctors when deciding on laser surgery when I mentioned it.

  47. brettt says:

    Eh, Lasik isn’t a huge deal. Of course there are horror stories… you drive in a car, despite all the horror stories you hear about that, and there are a hell of a lot more fatal car accidents than botched lasik surgeries.

    I actually sat in and watched my doctor perform a lasik (and two cataracts) before I got it. I got to look into the microscope and everything. This is what made me want to get lasik.

    I have a broken nose, and it’s sensitive, so glasses hurt me. and contacts were also starting to bother me.

    I’m sure that the 5 minutes of lasers was better for me than wearing lenses over my eyes for 20 years. My vision is 20/10 now.

  48. picardia says:

    First of all, NOBODY should get LASIK if their vision isn’t actually impaired. It’s not a very risky procedure, but there are risks, and this guy should never, never have gotten it done if he only barely needed glasses. The fact that LASIK Plus didn’t tell him this themselves is their first egregious error.

    I had LASIK 9 years ago; my vision was terrible (-12 in each eye), right on the cusp of where surgeons consider not doing the procedure any longer. I also had astigmatism, which was a complicating factor. I basically did my research, knew the risks and piled up my money so that I could go to the most expensive place in the state for the procedure. That was not a place to cut corners. I always tell people, if they’re going to get it done, spend as much as they possibly can. You want a good surgeon who does this regularly and will be honest with you about your fitness for the procedure and the risks involved. LASIK Plus failed this guy, definitely.

  49. I had a detached retina in my left eye at 13 due to my genetics and almost went blind permanently in that eye.

    I was told (quite rudely) in my 20’s that I should have LASIK by a new eye Dr. even though had a very small (under 5%) chance to negate my need for glasses.

    I declined.

    Having gone temporarily blind in an eye before I sympathize with this guy! Even if there is only a 1 in 10,000 chance of “Serious Complications” someone has GOT to be that 1 in 10,000, and it SUCKS. It sounds like the Dr. that did the surgery probably handed him a pamphlet of the possible bad stuff, and then de-emphasized the serious ones because “they so rarely happen”.

    But they have to happen to someone to get put in that pamphlet.

    Good luck Patrick!

  50. CecilMcCecil says:

    Lasik, done correctly, is a major life improving operation.

    I got mine done over 10 years ago by the guy that did a lot of the football players in the Bay Area.

    It was the best $4K I ever spent in my life.

    I was scared, it is a scary operation, that is why I went to someone with a known track record.

  51. syndprod says:

    @ionerox: Hey, as my roommate says, “A laser is a laser.”

    Needless to say, I’m not considering that place for LASIK. Or hair removal, come to think of it.

  52. JiminyChristmas says:

    @tcp100:

    Unfortunately he probably signed a waiver saying he understand and accepted responsibility for all the risks.

    FWIW, no matter what you sign, it doesn’t legally indemnify anyone from the consequences of actual negligence. However, from what is sounds like in this case, no one can ascertain what went wrong.

    If it’s ‘the laser’s fault’, as the doctor is alleging, there could still be a cause of action against him if he is the one responsible for maintaining and calibrating the equipment. Otherwise, the manufacturer of the device could be liable.

    The thing I don’t understand in this whole story is how this guy is on the hook for tens of thousands in medical bills. Is he not covered because the complications are the result of a privately paid elective procedure? Please don’t tell me this guy is a cop and doesn’t have health insurance.

  53. ReidWings says:

    The REALLY scary thing is that optometrists, who have no experience in Ophthalmic surgeries, are trying to get the right to do LASIK in some states. Imagine getting a procedure like this done by someone incapable of treating the possible complications. It’s a recipe for disaster. This is something better left to Ophthalmologists who know how to treat these complications.

  54. azntg says:

    Okay, I’ll think twice about having any kind of eye surgery as long as I can see with my glasses.

    My eyesight’s getting worse by the day and it’s a real shame at my age *sigh*

    @Maddod: Some people share their own thoughts and experiences on eye surgery. Others shout out words of encouragement.

    And others, like you, invoke the snarkiness part of me by thoughtlessly POSTING A SHAMELESS ADVERTISEMENT IN THE COMMENTS! Fie!

  55. @satoru:

    I hate to break it to you, but Tiger Woods got his LASIK in DC, at the doctor I went to…

  56. motojen says:

    My husband had LASIK. 3 times. It cost 5 grand. One eye was blurry so the doctor did a touch up. It was still blurry so he gave him antibiotic eye drops. When that didn’t work, he did a thorugh examination and discovered that my husband had a cataract. You’d think he would have noticed that in the first place right? He referred hubby to another eye doctor.

    5 grand and several months later, the cataract is gone and my husband still needs glasses to read. He thinks it’s great. I think it’s ridiculous. If the day comes when I need vision correction, I’ll take contacts thank you very much.

  57. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    If these complications are so rare, why can’t there be an insurance component to the procedure. Ophthalmologists should probably require it to cover themselves. Like Malpractice, but broader coverage to the patient.

    Insurance specifically to cover the transplant and lost wages should something go horribly wrong.

    There need not be punitive damages, but this patient is out a lot, possibly millions (lost wages, lower pay, transplant costs, etc…). Punitive damages for bad luck would just drive the costs up for everybody.

    If I have my eyes done it will be PRK, It has a longer recovery time (1 week to return to work, 6-12 months for complete recovery), but a lower complication rate, generally better results, and its an older and less expensive procedure to top it off.

    As much as I hate glasses my vision is not bad enough to justify the costs. -0.5 and -0.75. Some people think I’m nuts to even wear glasses.

  58. LASIKpatient says:

    I hate to break it to you, but Tiger had a reoperation last year.
    LASIK was the worst decision of my life. I suffer from the common complications of chronic dry eyes and night vision impairment. Since I had LASIK I have spent much of my spare time researching LASIK complications. The medical literature reports that chronic dry eyes and night vision impairment occur frequently after LASIK. Based on data from all FDA LASIK clinical trials, the complication rate is around 20%, but this is hidden from the public by classifying these complications as “symptoms” in the device labeling. Moreover, the LASIK flap only heals to 2% of the cornea’s original tensile strength, and the biomechanical strength of the cornea is permanently reduced by about 50% after LASIK. LASIK patients face problems with glaucoma screening, future cataract surgery, and persistent decrease in corneal cells called keratocytes which are vital to the health and function of the cornea. You can read more about LASIK risks and long-term complications on my website at http://www.lasikcomplications.com (you can also read about Tiger’s reoperation on my site).

  59. thatgirlinnewyork says:

    @ellastar: I hope your doc doesn’t recommend LASIK to you, or anyone to do it, for that matter. my script is the same as yours (-7.00 – 7.50), and i have been told by several reputable opthamologists that our script level is much too high for PRK or LASIK to be effective. i’m with everyone who wonders why this guy bothered risky surgery for -1.25, when he could have corrected with a lens or cheap readers when he needed them.

    I have worn glasses, and every type of lens since the age of 5, so i can say, emphatically, that glasses and lenses give me decent correction that i can live with more than a botched (or ill-advised surgery). these procedures can never guarantee you 20/20 vision, and are often repeated on some patients, weakening their corneas even more.

    find other lenses–and beware the myth about “extended wear”. any foreign object is bound to cause a problem in an eye closed for more than a half hour. i used to use night & day, but removed them nightly. they were comfortable, but better ones have been made since. try the new oasys 2-week lenses. again, remove them to sleep, and you’ll have a good 2 weeks comfort.

  60. thatgirlinnewyork says:

    @ReidWings: so agree on the point of optometrists trying to get the right to do the surgery.

    but ALL doctors are trying to up their income via profitable procedures these days. my mother’s opthalmic surgeon offered to do an eye lift for her while doing her LASIK, which I talked her out of. dermatologists are now trying to do outpatient cosmetic surgery–between licensing and the FDA, many docs are getting away with procedures way beyond their capabilities.

  61. DoktorGoku says:

    That’s genuinely unfortunate. I really hope this man is taken care of- unfortunately, some of us in the medical field cover for each other when they shouldn’t, and some don’t cover when they should.

    Best of luck to you in the future, Patrick.

  62. kyle4 says:

    That is a very sad and unfortunate story. People nowadays sue for all the wrong reasons and yet here was someone who truly needed a lawsuit but couldn’t get one.

    I’ll never get Lasik eye surgery. I’ve been told my eyes will get worse every year (I’m 18 and was told this at 14) and I don’t think I’d do it. I don’t even want to look near a discman laser, let alone allowing one to infiltrate my eyes.

  63. wufflebunny says:

    I have *terrible* vision (6.00 and 7.50) which means that looking down at my hands without glasses is a complete blur) and have been wearing glasses since 8.. but I don’t think I could contemplate getting Lasik. Too many things can go wrong – even at the best doctor’s surgeries at the end of the day there is a mere human being operating a machine and deciding on the fate of your eyesight., not to mention that the long term effects of Lasik are still not known.

    Contacts are a bit of a hassle, but I can live with them and carrying around an extra pair of glasses. Swimming can be a bit annoying too but I just swap my contacts for a pair of “prescription” swimming goggles which work a treat.

  64. tdematteo says:

    I had lasik four years ago. The following day after surgury I could not see out of either eye. Two years later I had a proceedure which corrected my left eye which I now see perfectly out of.

    However, my right eye has never been good and has gotten progressively worse. Finally, after waiting four years for the eye to heal my surgeon sent me to a cornea speacilist.

    Yesterday I visited the doctor and he told me my right eye was so far deterioraqted that I would need a cornea transplant. I don’t know wat to do?

    I know I should have neve done the Lasik surgury now but I have to play today’s cards. I almost want to just not do it and live with it after the horror stories I have heard about transplants.