Sunday, March 05, 2006

Laser eye surgery horrors

I came across this article about the pros and cons of laser eye surgery. It seems very balanced: it can work, they say, and it can go wrong. Me, I find it terrifying. I'm sure a scientist would say that on balance corrective surgery is a good thing, provided the indications are followed. But when I read the comments people have left about their surgery horror stories, they accumulate in my head to make the process unimaginable, to me anyway. Take this woman:

Barbara(artistwoman) Posted: 09/09/2002 18:23
I, also, had a very negative outcome from Lasik surgery in July 2001. Side effects include loss of night vision; loss of contrast sensitivity; foggy, ghosted, "vaseline" indoor vision; huge haloes, starbursts and arcing; regression and uncorrectable visual acuity; dry eye and associated corneal/epithelial erosions; corneal scarring (Sands of the Sahara) in the right eye, correctible only through corneal transplant; multiple vision; significant fluctiation in vision from day to day, sometimes hour to hour; frequent eyestrain and headaches; and a never-ending tic in the left eye. I've been an artist my whole life, it's who I am. I'm now investigating possibilities for a new career, as my ability to work as an artist is so seriously compromised. I am not able to wear traditional contact lenses, and by the circumstances of my Lasik-reduced income, cannot afford to pursue RGP lenses, the last possible solution open to me. A corneal transplant is very high risk due to autoimmune problems. I was a miserable candidate for this surgery, with a number of contraindications, including a long history of dry eye, large pupils, an autoimmune disorder, a very high degree of myopia, a very large number of floaters, and very poor healing response, all of which were known to the surgeon. I was the recipient of miserably inadequate post-operative care, overseen by an OD who knew nothing about post-lasik complications. The corneal scarring that appears as a milky film in my right eye was a result of stage 4 diffuse lamellar keratitis (DLK) which went untreated. The surgeon was completely disinterested, and pronounced me a success. Would I recommend this surgery to anyone? Oh yeah, just about as quickly as I'd recommend skydiving without a parachute...

I desperately want to have normal eyesight. But not at that price! I've got to learn to see myself.


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