Lasik eye surgery has been known in the common vernacular as a surgery that is both beneficial and low-risk for quite some time now. And while that is generally true, there are reportedly risks that some doctors neglect to tell their patients about. According to an investigation done by the Food And Drug Administration (FDA), these risks include a list of complications ranging from prolonged and severe eye pain to still needing prescription lenses.
The Food And Drug Administration’s inquiry into Lasik eye surgery has lasted over a decade, reported the New York Times. The agency is preparing to release a lengthy document that highlights the risks that some surgeons neglect to go over with patients.
Lasik eye surgery is essentially the practice of reshaping an individual’s cornea to improve their eyesight, and the FDA’s document would essentially legally require medical professionals to go over every potential outcome that could result from that re-shaping. For instance, those who suffer from diabetes would be required to be told that they are at an exponentially increased risk of suffering long-term complications in comparison to a person who doesn’t suffer from diabetes.
Paula Cofer, an individual who suffered permanently damaging effects from Lasik surgery, told the Times that she has been waiting for the FDA to implement something like this since she originally testified to the agency back in 2008. Cofer believes the FDA’s new warnings will encourage more people to listen and think carefully before deciding to undergo the procedure. “Right now, even if patients do research on the internet and see warnings, they think it’s just one or two unhappy people. Now they see it’s the F.D.A. saying this,” said Cofer.
Needless to say, eye surgeons are not exactly thrilled by what the FDA is trying to require with its new disclosure. Speculatively, it’s easy to see why. Lasik eye surgery is not typically covered by insurance and it’s not a cheap procedure, either. Still, about 500,000 people in the United States undergo it each year.
Conclusively, this means that eye surgeons make a lot of money from doing this procedure. The FDA’s new warning could potentially deter people from getting Lasik eye surgery done who otherwise would have. If that happens those surgeons would then lose money.
Dr. Vance Thompson, who will soon take over the role as vice president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, voiced his particular concern over individuals being scared off by the FDA’s new disclosure. He cited that his concerns were mostly due to the fact that the agency failed to point out any of the positive outcomes and focused solely on the negative. “This document mainly emphasizes the dangers and complications of Lasik, with no mention of the advantages, and the tone is negative enough that it will scare patients,” Thompson emphasized to the New York Times.
Overall, undergoing Lasik eye surgery is a decision that is ultimately up to the individual. And as with any medical procedure, it is especially important to inform oneself as best as possible before deciding to have it done. At the very least, the FDA’s document will serve to provide the public with the facts they need to make an informed decision that’s best for them.