Lasik Eye Surgery. Is it worth the risk?

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Lasik Eye Surgery. Is it worth the risk? — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

I have 20/20 vision…Just as long as my contacts are in my eyes, or my glasses are on my face. So I can totally understand why people are getting Lasik surgery. If I could afford it, I would be jumping on the Lasik surgery bandwagon along with everyone else.

There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and not being able to find your glasses. Did they get knocked off the bedside table? Did you put them in a different spot? Then you blindly feel around the room until you finally find them. Those are the days I wish I could have Lasik surgery.

Everyone I know who has had this surgery has been happy with it, so I was I little surprised to read this article from the Associated Press…

Federal Panel Seeks Clearer Warnings on Lasik Eye Surgery

In fury and despair, patients harmed by Lasik eye surgery told federal health advisers Friday of severe eye pain, blurred vision and even a son’s suicide. The advisers recommended that the government warn more clearly about the risks of the hugely popular operations.

About 700,000 Americans a year undergo the elective laser surgery. Like golf star and famed Lasik recipient Tiger Woods, they’re hoping to throw away their glasses, just as the ads say.

And while the vast majority benefit — most see 20-20 or even better — about one in four people who seeks Lasik is not a good candidate. A small fraction, perhaps 1 percent or fewer, suffer serious, life-changing side effects: worse vision, severe dry eye, glare, inability to drive at night.

“Too many Americans have been harmed by this procedure and it’s about time this message was heard,” David Shell of Washington told the Food and Drug Administration’s scientific advisers before their recommendation that the FDA provide clearer warnings.

Shell held up large photographs that he said depict his blurred world, showing halos around objects and double vision, since his 1998 Lasik.

I found this from Laura at Health Law Blog…

The FDA says it has received a steady stream of complaints, while the industry says over 90% of the individuals receiving Lasik eye surgery are pleased. Out of the 7.6 million people undergoing Lasik in the United States, one hundred forty have written to the FDA. However, if one hundred forty people have written to the FDA, it seems likely that there are many others out there that have not chosen to write to the FDA.

These complaints focus on the side effects and ill effects of the surgery. The FDA held a public hearing, and patients harmed by Lasik eye surgery shared stories of bad vision, pain, and family members driven to suicide.

The FDA will begin a new study to determine if there is a common factor in who has done well and who hasn’t. The FDA will also be examining if the warnings paired with Lasik are appropriate for the side effects.

I guess it’s only to be expected that this surgery would have adverse reactions for some. All surgeries have some degree of risk, and I think the important thing here is that the doctor makes this clear to the patient. And patients also need to be proactive in getting all the facts and making sure they are going to a reputable doctor. This is clearly not a time to be bargain shopping.

From what I have been reading, it seems to me that the benefit of this surgery far outweighs the risk. But that is a decision each person needs to make for themselves.

Did you ever wonder what they actually do in Lasik surgery? Don’t worry I’m not going to show a video and sick you out. But here is a little description from an eye center.

To treat nearsightedness, the cornea must be made flatter. This is accomplished by removing tissue from the center of the cornea.

To treat farsightedness, the central cornea must be made steeper. This is accomplished by directing the laser beam to remove tissue from around this area.

To treat astigmatism, the cornea must be made more spherical. By changing the pattern of the beam, tissue is removed in one direction more than the other.

Here are a few links to women who have had this surgery and have blogged about it.

Miriam from The MOh You Know

Last November I got Lasik surgery and have never seen better! Of course, there were a few side effects the first couple of months after which included:

– the first night was tough and painful, but the next morning I was pain-free
– very minimal dry eye
– halos and rings during night time driving
– light sensitivity

It all wore off within a few months and I haven’t seen better. It’s the best thing I’ve done to myself.

Fellow BlogHer Contributing Editor Zandria, recently talked about her experience with Lasik surgery at her blog Keep Up With MeLasik, One Year Later

I had Lasik surgery a year ago this week (well, more specifically, my procedure was PRK – but Lasik is the more well known, all-inclusive term).

What do I remember most about the surgery? The aftermath was a lot worse than the procedure itself, which only took about ten minutes. PRK is less invasive than Lasik because they don’t cut your eyeballs open, but because they’re basically shaving your cornea to make it the correct shape, the healing time takes longer. I had it done on a Saturday and was expecting to be out of work for a few days the following week – but I ended up being out the entire week because I couldn’t see well enough to drive (or do much of anything else, for that matter).

Ah, yes – I spent almost a week at home; hardly able to see; I wore sunglasses inside even with the blinds closed on the windows; I wasn’t able to get on the computer or read a book because my vision was too blurry. I slept a lot, and sometimes I talked on the phone to keep the boredom at bay. Luckily I had someone who was able to drive me to my follow-up appointments, since there was no way I would’ve been able to get there myself.

Was all the pain worth it? Hell, yes. Being able to see clearly as soon as I wake up, without having to reach for my glasses? Priceless. Not having to deal with the dryness and discomfort of contact lenses? It’s truly been a godsend.

A very detailed account of one woman’s journey through Lasik surgery.

Have you had Lasik surgery? Do you have any regrets? If you have had this surgery and blogged about your experience, I would love for you to leave a link in comments.

READ MORE ON THIS SUBJECT AT QVISORY

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan also at CatherineBlogs, The Political Voices of Women, Care2 Election Blog

3 comments for “Lasik Eye Surgery. Is it worth the risk?

  1. Lasik laser
    December 8, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Before surgery I couldn’t see anything clearly without glasses. Even worse, all outdoor activities were a strain. Needless to say I couldn’t score many points playing basketball. At work I wasn’t able to use a computer for more than an hour before I started getting head aches. This not only affected my performance but also my attitude. Now that I’ve had the surgery I finally have a full field of vision during every waking hour. Being able to walk outside with no glasses or contacts and seeing everything is amazing. I highly recommend a Lasik laser surgery.

  2. Pingback: Lasik Eye Surgery Risks – How Big Are They? | Lasik Eye Surgery Answers
  3. October 25, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Nowadays we have to be aware of the side effects and the consequences after a lasik surgery. As mentioned in the article, the risks can lead to glare at night, hyper sensitivity . But honestly it worth taking the risk as they are only rare cases who have problems after the treatment and the surgeons know better and better this new approach. So, no much worries to have.

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