For a number of patients who undergo laser eye surgery such as LASIK or SMILE, complications can arise that make patients uncomfortable, cause significant pain, and may even lead to suicide. An increasing number of people are reporting severe eye pain and visual disturbances after laser eye surgery. The recent suicide of TV meteorologist Jessica Starr has drawn attention to the risk for serious complications caused by refractive surgery.
Complications That Do Happen Are Quite Severe
One of the problems with corrective laser eye surgeries is that complications, when they happen, can be quite severe. Some patients are left with vision loss that cannot be corrected, even with glasses or contact lenses. Others are left with eye pain that never goes away. Patients who had dry eyes before surgery sometimes find they have extremely dry eyes after, and some who never had a problem will suffer from uncomfortable dryness after surgery. Patients who have laser eye surgery may still need glasses or contacts after surgery because for some, 20/20 vision is not achievable.
Complications May Be Less Rare Than Claimed
Though eye doctors claim the risk for complications is rare, a 2009 study the FDA performed found that up to 46 percent of patients had at least one visual symptom after surgery at the three-month mark. As many as 28 percents reported problems with dry eyes. The study looked at 312 participants, and less than 1 percent reported a lot of difficulty after surgery. However, separate from the study, as many as 6,000 people have complained to the FDA about complications after laser eye surgery. At least three suicides, and potentially a fourth that includes TV meteorologist Jessica Starr, have been connected to laser eye surgery complications. Some patients left with intense eye pain and deteriorating vision have taken their lives as a result.
Unfortunately, patients who choose to undergo laser eye procedures are required to sign permission for the surgery and assumption of risk. Injury lawyers in Las Vegas and other communities may still be able to get compensation for patients who are injured, however. People suffering injuries from LASIK or SMILE should consider their options because doctors can be held liable for medical negligence when they fail to disclose the risks involved with a medical procedure like refractive surgery.