Lasik eye surgery must be stopped says former FDA advisor, claims at least 17 people have committed suicide from the pain

At least 17 people have committed suicide after years of pain from Lasik, says Dr Morris Waxler.


                            Lasik eye surgery must be stopped says former FDA advisor, claims at least 17 people have committed suicide from the pain

Lasik surgery, meant to correct nearsightedness and improve distance vision, has come under the scanner after a former adviser with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the procedure is doing more harm than good.

The former adviser, Dr Morris Waxler, who voted to approve Lasik surgery in 1996, had a change of heart after re-examining the data recently. "Essentially, we ignored the data on vision distortions that persisted for years," the retired FDA adviser told CBS News.

Waxler thinks Lasik should "absolutely" be taken off the market. "There's nothing wrong with a person's eyes who goes to get Lasik. They have healthy eyes. They could go and get a pair of glasses," he told CBS News.

At least 17 people have committed suicide after years of pain from Lasik, according to a support and advocacy site, Lasikcomplications.com. (Getty Images)

According to estimates, about 9.5 million Americans have had the eye surgery to rid themselves off contact lenses and spectacles. The quick, minimally-invasive surgery uses a laser to cut a flap to reshape the cornea at the front of the eye, and is considered foolproof by many eye doctors and according to the FDA, about 95% of participants were satisfied with their vision after the procedure. 

Through the support and advocacy site Lasikcomplications.com, Waxler claims he has realized how grave the situation is. At least 17 people have committed suicide after years of pain from Lasik, Waxler told The Daily Mail. And his own analysis of industry data showed complication rates between 10 and 30%.

Waxler had drawn up a petition to the FDA asking for a voluntary recall of Lasik in 2011, which was denied three years later. The agency told CBS News that it "has not found any new safety concerns associated with Lasik devices." 

But FDA also lists complications associated with the surgery on their website. On 2017, they conducted a trial to test the procedure. They found that nearly half of the participants who had healthy eyes before Lasik developed aberrant vision post surgery. Further, up to 40% of participants had "halos" - a type of visual aberration - three months following surgery and up to 28% of participants reported dry eye symptoms three months after their surgery. Some of these patients even had trouble doing their daily chores. The FDA has suggested that patients should be made aware of the side-effects before undergoing the surgery.

Many ophthalmologists insist Lasik is the safest procedure done on the eye, the safest according to a few, and serious complications are exceedingly rare, reported The New York Times.

But not everyone agrees. Optometrist Edward Boshnick, estimates he has treated thousands of patients with Lasik complications. 

Some doctors believe that pre-surgical screening can help. "The most important thing is knowing who to operate on and who not to operate on and there are people who really should not have this procedure," Dr Jules Winokur, New York-based Northwell Health physician who specializes in Ophthalmology, told CBS News.

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