NewsDenver7 | Investigates


Lasik patients express different views on surgery risks, explain their experiences

Suicides blamed on Lasik are rare
Posted at 10:38 AM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 20:44:26-05

DENVER – More Lasik patients have come forward to say after surgery they faced halos, severe dry eye, double vision and starbursts following a Denver7 report on what can happen to patients after the eye refractive surgery.

In the report, Denver7 profiled a mother whose son died by suicide after battling intense pain following Lasik surgery. His suicide note blamed eye surgery for ruining his life.

An association of Lasik surgeons says Lasik is safe, debilitating pain is rare, and the procedure has been performed 19 million times and has a 96-percent patient satisfaction rate.

A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration reiterated to Denver7 this week that the FDA feels the procedure is safe, but said it plans to issue new guidance to doctors on how to educate prospective patients of the risks of Lasik.

Many people discussed their symptoms on Denver7’s Facebook page and on social media pages of the reporter who reported the story Tuesday night.

Viewer reactions

Chris Johnson reacted to the Denver7 by saying there are risks in any surgery.

Vivi Flores is one of many people who expressed support for her experience with Lasik.

But a number of people discussed their own symptoms following Lasik. A recent FDA study detailed symptoms among people who, before surgery, did not have the symptoms. Many developed symptoms within six months, such as seeing starbursts (30.3 percent), halos (26.2 percent), and double images (5.2 percent). Only a small percentage of people described symptoms as very bothersome, meaning most patients with symptoms did not find that they significantly affected their lives.

Scott White said he didn’t regret doing the procedure, but said he only vaguely remembers his doctor mentioning it and the point wasn’t emphasized.

Others were frustrated by their symptoms, or symptoms loved ones faced.

Some said they didn’t feel the need to have Lasik.