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Lasik Surgery Results in Worse Vision and Never-Ending Pain

Tuesday, June 03, 2008 by: Heidi Stevenson
Tags: Lasik, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Perfect vision without glasses or contacts sounds wonderful. Before considering having Lasik surgery, though, it would be wise to ask how many people actually do have good results and how many will suffer bad effects years after Lasik surgery. The advertisements give the impression that it's a perfectly safe -- nearly foolproof -- procedure. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Lasik surgery for vision improvement involves cutting a flap in the eye's cornea, the clear tissue at the front of the eye, then using a laser to cut and reshape the corneal tissue under the flap.

According to Dr. Kerry Soloman, who did a study of Lasik's safety for the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, a full five percent have poor results. These can be worse vision -- even blindness -- constant eye pain, blurred vision, dry eyes, and a variety of other distressing visual aberrations. Interestingly, people who end up with corrected vision but permanent eye pain are considered successes by the surgeons who do the procedure.

About 48% -- nearly half - suffer from dry eyes at least temporarily after the surgery. Because the surgery severs the cornea nerves that stimulate tear production, this has been an obvious and predictable problem.

About 700,000 people have Lasik surgery every year. With about 5% of them having bad results, that translates to about 35,000 people who ended up worse, with pain or with visual disturbances, such as double-vision and halos around lights.

The FDA is now investigating the risks associated with Lasik surgery, but one must wonder where the agency has been for the last 19 years, when the surgical technique was first patented. The first Lasik machine was approved by the FDA about ten years ago.

Lasik is Just Another Industry

The Lasik industry is like any other. Its primary motivation is profits, and this one's are enormous. The following quote is by Dr. Marguerite B. McDonald, the former Chief Medical Editor of EyeWorld, an international publication for ophthalmologists:

"We are only starting to ride the enormous growth curve of Lasik in this country. There will be more than enough surgeries for everyone to benefit if we keep our heads by sharing information openly and honestly and by resisting the temptation to criticize the work of our colleagues when we are offering a second opinion to a patient with a suboptimal result."

She clearly implies that the patients' welfare is of secondary importance to the doctors' profits! Dr. McDonald is a major player in the field of Lasik surgery. Think of what this implies about the safety of the process and the dishonesty inherent in many doctors doing it.

Of course, this shouldn't be surprising. Consider all the ophthalmologists who now specialize in only Lasik surgery. Instead of putting their efforts into procedures that might help people at risk of losing their sight, they have opted to do nothing but provide a risky and unnecessary procedure.

Long Term Results May Include Suicide

Long term results are proving to be even worse. Lawsuits are popping up now as a result of problems developing years later.

Colin Dorrian was a 28-year-old patent lawyer. In the summer of 2007, he killed himself, leaving a note that blamed constant pain from Lasik surgery. He wrote, "I just cannot accept the fact that I'm supposed to live like this."

Within the industry, there is complete denial of any cause-and-effect between Lasik and suicide. Of course, there have been no studies to see if there's a connection.

One optometrist, Chistine Sindt, who is also a University of Iowa associate professor of clinical ophthalmology, says that she has seen depression in people with vision problems caused by Lasik. "It's not just that they lose vision. They paid somebody... who took their vision away."

Naturally, the Lasik industry explains this sort of thing by saying that the people who become depressed suffered from psychological problems before the surgery. One would think, though, that any doctor whose first interest is in the patient's welfare would want to err on the side of caution. Instead, though, there has been denial.

Permanent Pathological Changes in All Lasik Patients

In a study published by Cornea in January 2005, it was reported that, of 25 post-mortem Lasik patients, every single one of them had suffered pathological corneal changes that were permanent. There were no exceptions. These patients had died between 3 months and 7 years after their surgeries, and the only determinant for selecting a case for examination was that the person's visual status prior to the surgery was known.

Corneas Do Not Heal Completely After Lasik

In the September-October issue of the Journal of Refractive Surgery, a report of a study on the healing of Lasik patients reported that most do not achieve anywhere near the quality of structure that's achieved from most corneal wounds. The relative strength of the Lasik-induced wound's tissues average only 2.4% of normal tissue. Wounds gotten in an accidental manner typically develop scars with 28.1% the strength of normal tissue.

In the Journal of Refractive Surgery's April 2007 issue, the authors stated, "The Lasik flap once cut may contribute little to the mechanical stability of the cornea and probably never completely adheres to the underlying stromal bed."

Lasik patients are left with permanently weakened corneas. This means that they are forever at risk of permanent eye damage from relatively minor injuries. Those who are most at risk of suffering permanent damage as a result of Lasik surgery, people who are involved in highly physical sports or jobs, are the ones who are often targeted by the industry. Clearly, the best interests of the patients are not the doctors' primary concern.

Potential Damage From Lasik Surgery

Lasik surgery has not been in existence for long, only about ten years. Its long term effects are not yet known, but there are many reasons to be concerned.

There are some indications that the procedure may induce cataracts. Many people, including relatively young ones, have claimed that cataracts were induced by Lasik surgery. There have not, of course, been any studies to see if there's a connection.

Lasik procedures literally evaporate part of the cornea to produce a smooth surface. This is known to create free radicals and apoptosis (cell death and dismemberment) in the stromal, underlying, structure of the cornea. Free radicals are known to cause tumor growth. It may be decades before we see results of this damage - or it may be entirely harmless. Only time will tell.

In November 2007, EyeNet Magazine, a publication of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, reported ectasia, bulging of the cornea, years after Lasik surgery. Joe McFarland, MD, JD stated, "We are also just now learning of some of the long-term complications of refractive surgery, which are being reflected in new allegations and lawsuits. For example, some patients are developing post-refractive ectasia years after the procedure; this condition not only compromises vision, but also may need to be treated with a corneal transplant."

At least one case of neuropathy to both optic nerves of a patient was noted by the journal, Opthalmology in April 2008. It is surmised that the cause was elevation of intraocular (within the eye) pressure induced by a suction ring device routinely used during Lasik procedures. It resulted in several severe vision defects.

A consistent result of Lasik surgery is that people over age 40 who had been able to see things close to them without glasses suddenly require glasses for reading. They have only exchanged distance-vision glasses for reading glasses.

Lasik surgery changes the cornea's shape and thickness. As a result, intraocular pressure readings, which are critical for diagnosing glaucoma, become inaccurate. This may result in lost vision from glaucoma that goes undiagnosed.

Do You Want to Take the Risk of Lasik Surgery?

Laser sounds so much safer than a knife, but keep in mind that it cuts as sharply as any weapon. One of the primary processes of Lasik surgery is melting part of the cornea to make it smooth. The result is that even the best possible outcome results in poor healing, leaving all, or nearly all, patients at significantly greater risk of permanent eye damage from injury. Aside from the immediate risks of seriously impaired vision and permanent eye pain, the long term risks are only now coming to light.

Is Lasik surgery worth the risk? I'll leave that up to you.


LasikDisaster, (http://lasikdisaster.com/studies.htm)

Associated Press, (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/LASIK...)

Washington Post, (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content...)

Columbia Tribune, (http://www.columbiatribune.com/2008/Feb/2008...)

About the author

* Heidi Stevenson, BSc, DIHom, FBIH
* Fellow, British Institute of Homeopathy
* Gaia Health (http://www.gaia-health.com)
* The author is a homeopath who became concerned with medically-induced harm as a result of her own experiences and those of family members. She says that allopathic medicine is the arena that best describes the motto, "Buyer beware."
* Heidi Stevenson provides information about medically-induced disease and disability, along with incisive well-researched articles on major issues in the modern world, so members of the public can protect themselves.
She can be reached through her website: www.gaia-health.com

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