The lawyers and attorneys at our firm our currently offering free case evaluations to victims of botched LASIK eye surgery. Approved a decade ago, LASIK is one of the most popular elective surgeries in the US, and an estimated six million Americans have undergone LASIK surgery. Unfortunately, LASIK surgery is no guarantee of perfect vision – in fact, the procedure often goes horribly wrong and leaves patients with serious and debilitating vision problems. If you or a loved one suffer vision problems as a result of LASIK surgery, we urge you to contact our LASIK injury lawyers immediately to discuss your case.
LASIK Side Effects
The promise of LASIK surgery is often oversold by the physicians performing it, and patients are usually ill-prepared for LASIK side effects. Doctors have also been known to perform LASIK surgery on people who had pre-existing conditions that should have barred them from the procedure. What’s worse, in the vast majority of these cases, LASIK surgery complications cannot be corrected with either eyeglasses or further surgery. In extreme cases, some LASIK patients have become so depressed over the deterioration of their vision that they attempt, and sometimes, commit suicide. Our LASIK injury lawyers believe many such injuries are avoidable, and we intend to hold accountable the LASIK doctors who fail their patients.
LASIK surgery can result in myriad complications. Dry eyes are one of the most common. This painful condition can last for months, or it can be permanent. In both cases, patients are forced to use expensive eye drops – which they often purchase from the LASIK surgeon – to mitigate the symptoms of dry eyes. Other common LASIK side effects include halos, starbursts, and poor night vision. All of these side effects are extremely debilitating, as they impact a person’s ability to drive, play sports, and engage in other daily activities.
It is unknown how many patients suffer LASIK side effects. For instance, some doctors say dry eyes occur in 31 percent of LASIK patients, while others put that number higher, at 48 percent. It is also thought that many LASIK side effects and complications are never reported, so the true number could be much higher. In the future, the issue could become clearer, as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is set to begin a major study in 2009 to better understand who has bad LASIK outcomes. But for now, no one knows how many people suffer LASIK injuries, or how serious they typically are.
Causes of LASIK Side Effects Injuries
Though LASIK surgery is unpredictable, there are a number of factors that can make it more likely that a patient will experience LASIK side effects or injuries. In some cases, doctors are less then forthcoming about possible LASIK risks, or they encourage patients who are more likely to suffer LASIK side effects to have the surgery anyway. Another is the use of use of faulty or unapproved LASIK equipment.
The equipment used in LASIK surgery is more important to the outcome than even the physician’s skill. Unfortunately, not all LASIK equipment is of the same quality. In recent years, several media reports indicated that one type of laser was According to a 2003 article in the journal “Ophthalmology”, the LADARVision Laser manufactured by Alcon Laboratories was twice as likely to be associated with LASIK complications. Some LASIK doctors say the LADARVision’s complication rate is as high as 40 percent. According to FDA reports and court documents, hundreds of patients suffered permanent blurred vision, glares and halos, and sometimes the need for additional surgeries to improve their vision because of the LADARVision laser.
Alcon is aware of the LADARVision’s problems
Nearly a dozen doctors are known to have communicated their concerns about the defective laser. One Chicago TV news program even obtained a transcript of a phone conference where several surgeons tell Alcon administrators they’ve reported their concerns over malfunctions. They say their concerns have been “ignored” and that they are “not comfortable with the laser.
Some LASIK surgeons have been known to use laser equipment not approved by the FDA. Such lasers are called black box lasers. Many LASIK injuries have been traced to unapproved devices. Unfortunately, the FDA does not monitor LASIK physicians to insure they use only approved lasers, and the agency will only seized such equipment if it receives complaints. Incredibly, the FDA has no power to discipline LASIK doctors if they use black box lasers. For that reason, anyone considering LASIK surgery needs to ask their doctor about the type of laser they use, and research that equipment before they undergo LASIK surgery.
Some LASIK surgeons also contribute to LASIK side effects by failing to fully communicate the risks of this surgery. In many instances, they reassure patients that LASIK side effects and complications can be fixed, but this is not always the case. Others perform LASIK on people who are not good candidates for the surgery.
Not everyone should have LASIK surgery. LASIK surgery is not recommended for those with refractive instability – generally anyone who required a change in their eyeglass prescription in the year prior to surgery. People with diseases like HIV or diabetes that can prevent healing are not candidates for LASIK surgery. People with large pupils or dry eyes can also experience complications from LASIK surgery. In patients who are far-sighted, the level of improved vision after LASIK surgery may decrease with age. Unfortunately, there are many documented cases of LASIK side effects in people with such pre-existing conditions. In some instances, LASIK surgeons did not even bother to ask about these factors, or ignored them when they did.
FDA LASIK Surgery Investigation
In April 2007, the FDA held a meeting of its Ophthalmic Devices Panel to look into LASIK surgery after the agency received 140 complaints about the procedures. According to media reports, the doctors who sat on the FDA advisory panel were all eyeglass-wearers. One of them blamed LASIK surgeons for hyping patients’ expectations, while at the same time downplaying risks.
The FDA advisory panel ultimately recommended stronger warnings for LASIK surgery. The panel’s recommendations included allowing prospective patients to see photographs that illustrate what people suffering certain LASIK side effects actually see. The panel also said the warnings should make clearer the conditions that should disqualify someone from LASIK, such as large pupils or severe nearsightedness. The panel also called for an effort to clarify how often patients suffer different LASIK side effects.
Legal Help for Victims of LASIK Surgery Side Effects
If you or a loved one suffer from chronic dry eyes, decreased night vision, halos or other LASIK side effects, you have valuable legal rights. Please fill out our online form or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to speak with a qualified LASIK injury lawyer about your case.