SHOULD YOU HAVE LASIK?
Perry Rosenthal, M.D.
Although I have avoided answering this question until now, I decided to do so with the understanding that it reflects an opinion colored by my interest in one of its rare but life-devastating complications. What changed my mind? It was the response to my Googling “LASIK, RISKS” and in return being bombarded by promotions ($299/eye!!) that would put a circus carnival barker to shame. Moreover, the deception promoted by its merchandizing that discusses risks mention “dry eyes” in passing but ignores the devastating (and often permanent) life-destroying complication of neuropathic eye/facial pain and more that was described recently in a prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal. (I was the senior author).
Medical interventions whether performed to treat or prevent a disease are a double-edged sword. All have potential unwanted side-effects and it is the responsibility of physicians to educate their patients to weigh the hoped-for benefits against their potential harm. Even those who are incapable of or unreceptive to fully understanding the potential risks should be fully aware of the worst case scenario. It is called informed consent. This is especially true of procedures like LASIK that are performed solely for the purpose of personal convenience for the patient and profit by the surgeon. One would think that there is no excuse for pleading ignorance in this day of the internet. Wrong!! Enter “LASIK complications” and be prepared to be inundated with promotional offers! It is merchandizing in its most aggressive genre.
Merchant surgeons promoting LASIK-type surgeries rely on the fact that the great majority of their patients are happy with the results which enables them to soft-pedal the much rarer suicide-promoting complications of agonizing neuropathic pain. Notably, these victims uniformly plead ignorance. Is it possible that the LASIK industry (including its surgeons) is deliberately obfuscating its most devastating complication? Consider my experience described elsewhere on this website of having faced efforts by the industry to censor my description of the oculofacial pain complication. I wouldn’t be surprised if the LASIK industry will make further attempts to suppress my observations. If that were to happen, I will refer to the 208 victims of this disease of which 100 followed LASIK procedures who reached me through this website and filled out a comprehensive questionnaire. The data has yet to be analyzed and published.