As expected, an FDA panel met Friday to learn more about the possible complications of LASIK eye surgery, where surgeons use a laser to reshape the front of the cornea to improve vision. 12 million Americans have had the surgery and based on the success rate, 95% of those people are pleased.
The remaining 5% shared their horror stories with the FDA today, saying things like, "I see double vision, halos, and I was told I was a success," "I am out of a life I once enjoyed because profits came first," and "there were times I wanted to die."
On the other hand, many spoke up in support of the procedure including an Army surgeon who said it has been terrific for helicopter pilots and other soldiers that they can now put aside their glasses.
After a day of testimony on what can go wrong and how great it is when it works, panel members agreed that patients simply need more information about the risks of the surgery and what could happen to their eyesight if something goes wrong.
The most common complaints include bad night vision, starbursts, and painfully dry eyes. The panel also agreed that some surgeons are just better than others are. The FDA says that it will continue to study the side effects of LASIK surgery and will work for better pre-op screenings and warnings to help potential patients make better choices.