LASIK Under Scrutiny

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery has become almost commonplace these days. It seems that everyone is rushing out to have this miracle procedure done to improve failing vision and offset the toll that aging can take on the eyes. This health e-letter is going to present the other side of the LASIK surgery story: namely the false claims and promises that may be made by some eye-care professionals.

This health news about the potential dangers of LASIK surgery comes courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has just published a report. The FDA has stated that eye doctors will now get 90 days to get in line and update any advertising or promotional materials that make false claims. After this time, the agency will take regulatory action.

Sounds like the FDA is serious — and for good reason. Laser eye surgery does come with risks that many people may not be aware of based on the available promotional literature. Those risks can include vision loss, under- or over-correction of vision, dry eye, infection, glare, halos, and or double vision.

Also, the FDA warns, LASIK isn’t a cure-all for everyone and every eye condition. The procedure is meant to help repair vision among people who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism (irregular curvature of the cornea). These conditions are all known as “refractive errors” by eye-care professionals.

If you are considering LASIK surgery, what sort of claims should you be watching out for? If a doctor or laser eye clinic makes a claim such as “clinical studies show that laser surgery results in 20/20 vision in 90% of cases,” make sure this claim is backed by verifiable clinical studies.

Beware also of ads that deliberately leave information out. A promotional brochure might promise that you’ll never need glasses again. However, you may find that you still need reading glasses or glasses to help sharpen your vision at night.

One final claim to watch out for is any variation of “this procedure is completely safe.” There are always potential risks and complications to consider.

That being said, LASIK surgery is considered a safe procedure when done by a qualified doctor on the right patient. Get your own doctor’s advice if you are considering corrective eye surgery.