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Nevada Lasik Company Investigated by State PDF Print E-mail
Updated: Oct 29, 2008 09:10 PM EDT

There is an update on an investigation of a local Lasik clinic. State authorities say they're nearing the end of their review of the Valley Eye Center. Colleen McCarty (Las Vegas Now/Eyewitness News) first broke the story of alleged malpractice at the clinic.

The State Attorney General's Office plans to complete its investigation of the Valley Eye Center within the next few weeks. Investigators have been exploring allegations that the administrator of the clinic practiced medicine without a license, a claim he adamantly denies.

Suit has been filed against the clinic alleging malpractice and to administrator Vikas Jain, fraudulent concealment. Jain, they claim, provided their pre and post operative care -- procedures that, according to the lawsuits, only a licensed doctor may perform.

Jain lost his medical license in 2005 for harming more than 20 patients in the state of Ohio.

CLICK HERE for the full story

Lasik Surgery Results in Worse Vision and Never-Ending Pain PDF Print E-mail


According to Dr. Kerry Soloman, who did a study of Lasik's safety for the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, a full five percent have poor results. These can be worse vision -- even blindness -- constant eye pain, blurred vision, dry eyes, and a variety of other distressing visual aberrations. Interestingly, people who end up with corrected vision but permanent eye pain are considered successes by the surgeons who do the procedure.

About 48% -- nearly half –- suffer from dry eyes at least temporarily after the surgery. Because the surgery severs the cornea nerves that stimulate tear production, this has been an obvious and predictable problem.

About 700,000 people have Lasik surgery every year. With about 5% of them having bad results, that translates to about 35,000 people who ended up worse, with pain or with visual disturbances, such as double-vision and halos around lights.

The FDA is now investigating the risks associated with Lasik surgery, but one must wonder where the agency has been for the last 19 years, when the surgical technique was first patented. The first Lasik machine was approved by the FDA about ten years ago.

Lasik is Just Another Industry

The Lasik industry is like any other. Its primary motivation is profits, and this one's are enormous. The following quote is by Dr. Marguerite B. McDonald, the former Chief Medical Editor of EyeWorld, an international publication for ophthalmologists:

"We are only starting to ride the enormous growth curve of Lasik in this country. There will be more than enough surgeries for everyone to benefit if we keep our heads by sharing information openly and honestly and by resisting the temptation to criticize the work of our colleagues when we are offering a second opinion to a patient with a suboptimal result."

She clearly implies that the patients' welfare is of secondary importance to the doctors' profits! Dr. McDonald is a major player in the field of Lasik surgery. Think of what this implies about the safety of the process and the dishonesty inherent in many doctors doing it.

Of course, this shouldn't be surprising. Consider all the ophthalmologists who now specialize in only Lasik surgery. Instead of putting their efforts into procedures that might help people at risk of losing their sight, they have opted to do nothing but provide a risky and unnecessary procedure.

Long Term Results May Include Suicide

Long term results are proving to be even worse. Lawsuits are popping up now as a result of problems developing years later.

Colin Dorrian was a 28-year-old patent lawyer. In the summer of 2007, he killed himself, leaving a note that blamed constant pain from Lasik surgery. He wrote, "I just cannot accept the fact that I'm supposed to live like this."

Within the industry, there is complete denial of any cause-and-effect between Lasik and suicide. Of course, there have been no studies to see if there's a connection.

One optometrist, Chistine Sindt, who is also a University of Iowa associate professor of clinical ophthalmology, says that she has seen depression in people with vision problems caused by Lasik. "It's not just that they lose vision. They paid somebody... who took their vision away."

Naturally, the Lasik industry explains this sort of thing by saying that the people who become depressed suffered from psychological problems before the surgery. One would think, though, that any doctor whose first interest is in the patient's welfare would want to err on the side of caution. Instead, though, there has been denial.

Permanent Pathological Changes in All Lasik Patients

In a study published by Cornea in January 2005, it was reported that, of 25 post-mortem Lasik patients, every single one of them had suffered pathological corneal changes that were permanent. There were no exceptions. These patients had died between 3 months and 7 years after their surgeries, and the only determinant for selecting a case for examination was that the person's visual status prior to the surgery was known.

Corneas Do Not Heal Completely After Lasik

In the September-October issue of the Journal of Refractive Surgery, a report of a study on the healing of Lasik patients reported that most do not achieve anywhere near the quality of structure that's achieved from most corneal wounds. The relative strength of the Lasik-induced wound's tissues average only 2.4% of normal tissue. Wounds gotten in an accidental manner typically develop scars with 28.1% the strength of normal tissue.

In the Journal of Refractive Surgery's April 2007 issue, the authors stated, "The Lasik flap once cut may contribute little to the mechanical stability of the cornea and probably never completely adheres to the underlying stromal bed."

Lasik patients are left with permanently weakened corneas. This means that they are forever at risk of permanent eye damage from relatively minor injuries. Those who are most at risk of suffering permanent damage as a result of Lasik surgery, people who are involved in highly physical sports or jobs, are the ones who are often targeted by the industry. Clearly, the best interests of the patients are not the doctors' primary concern.

Potential Damage From Lasik Surgery

Lasik surgery has not been in existence for long, only about ten years. Its long term effects are not yet known, but there are many reasons to be concerned.

There are some indications that the procedure may induce cataracts. Many people, including relatively young ones, have claimed that cataracts were induced by Lasik surgery. There have not, of course, been any studies to see if there's a connection.

Lasik procedures literally evaporate part of the cornea to produce a smooth surface. This is known to create free radicals and apoptosis (cell death and dismemberment) in the stromal, underlying, structure of the cornea. Free radicals are known to cause tumor growth. It may be decades before we see results of this damage –- or it may be entirely harmless. Only time will tell.

In November 2007, EyeNet Magazine, a publication of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, reported ectasia, bulging of the cornea, years after Lasik surgery. Joe McFarland, MD, JD stated, "We are also just now learning of some of the long-term complications of refractive surgery, which are being reflected in new allegations and lawsuits. For example, some patients are developing post-refractive ectasia years after the procedure; this condition not only compromises vision, but also may need to be treated with a corneal transplant."

At least one case of neuropathy to both optic nerves of a patient was noted by the journal, Opthalmology in April 2008. It is surmised that the cause was elevation of intraocular (within the eye) pressure induced by a suction ring device routinely used during Lasik procedures. It resulted in several severe vision defects.

A consistent result of Lasik surgery is that people over age 40 who had been able to see things close to them without glasses suddenly require glasses for reading. They have only exchanged distance-vision glasses for reading glasses.

Lasik surgery changes the cornea's shape and thickness. As a result, intraocular pressure readings, which are critical for diagnosing glaucoma, become inaccurate. This may result in lost vision from glaucoma that goes undiagnosed.

Do You Want to Take the Risk of Lasik Surgery?

Laser sounds so much safer than a knife, but keep in mind that it cuts as sharply as any weapon. One of the primary processes of Lasik surgery is melting part of the cornea to make it smooth. The result is that even the best possible outcome results in poor healing, leaving all, or nearly all, patients at significantly greater risk of permanent eye damage from injury. Aside from the immediate risks of seriously impaired vision and permanent eye pain, the long term risks are only now coming to light.

Is Lasik surgery worth the risk? I'll leave that up to you.


LasikDisaster, (http://lasikdisaster.com/studies.htm)

Associated Press, ((http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/...)

Washington Post, ((http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co...)

Columbia Tribune, ((http://www.columbiatribune.com/2008/Feb...)

About the author
* Heidi Stevenson, BSc, DIHom, FBIH
* Fellow, British Institute of Homeopathy
* Gaia Therapy (http://www.gaia-therapy.com)
* The author is a homeopath who became concerned with medically-induced harm as a result of her own experiences and those of family members. She says that allopathic medicine is the arena that best describes the motto, "Buyer beware."
* Iatrogenic disease is illness, disability, and death caused by medical practice. It is common, resulting in huge costs to society and individuals. It's possible - even common - to suffer an iatrogenic illness without realizing its source.
* Heidi Stevenson provides information about medically-induced disease and disability, along with incisive well-researched articles on major issues in the modern world, so members of the public can protect themselves.

Some link depression, failed lasik PDF Print E-mail
Patients with impaired sight turn suicidal; surgeons reject any connection

Sabine Vollmer, Staff Writer

Patients who undergo vision-correcting laser eye surgery sign a release form with an extensive list of risks, but some researchers and former patients say a potential complication is not mentioned: depression that can lead to suicide.

In response to patient complaints, the Food and Drug Administration plans to convene a large, national study to examine the relationship of lasik complications and quality of life, including psychological problems such as depression.

Malvina Eydelman, an ophthalmologist with the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, wrote in an e-mail message that the scant clinical data available "failed to suggest significant problems following lasik surgery," but she said the FDA wants a broad and systematic review. She wrote, "We also noted that quality of life issues related to lasik had not been evaluated consistently, and there were few reports of well-designed studies."

Frustration and even sorrow can follow any unsuccessful surgery, but when the procedure leaves a patient with unremitting eye pain or permanently impaired vision, the emotional toll can be particularly severe.

One who could not endure it was Colin Dorrian, 28, a patent lawyer and aspiring medical student from suburban Philadelphia. He committed suicide last summer, 6 1/2 years after lasik surgery left him with lasting visual distortions. The surgery was done at a lasik center in Canada that has since closed.

"If I cannot get my eyes fixed, I'm going to kill myself," he wrote in a note police found on his body. "I just cannot accept the fact that I'm supposed to live like this."

In the note, Dorrian wrote that there had been other instances when he felt down. "I have other problems like most people do. But this is something else," he wrote. "As soon as my eyes went bad, I fell into a deeper depression than I had ever experienced, and I never really came out of it."

Laser eye surgeons who treat patients with complications say they do come across cases of depression, but they don't think lasik complications are the root cause. They say patients who exhibit depression after the procedure were likely depressed or psychologically troubled beforehand.

"There's no cause and effect," said Dr. Steven C. Schallhorn, the former head of the Navy Refractive Surgery Center in San Diego and an expert on permanent visual distortions from lasik.

In September, The News & Observer reported on complications from lasik, a lightly regulated surgical procedure widely promoted as a quick and painless way to eliminate the need for eyeglasses. But patients across the country and in laser eye surgery hot spots such as the Triangle, where 11 laser eye surgery centers operate, say the physical after-effects can cause or aggravate psychological problems.

Christine Sindt, an optometrist and associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, has encountered the psychological effects that patients experience when they have trouble seeing.

"Depression is a problem for any patient with a chronic vision problem," she said. But in the case of post-lasik patients, she said, the depression is compounded by remorse.

"It's not just that they lose vision," she said. "They paid somebody [who] took their vision away."

Sindt specializes in treating ectasia, a bulging of the eye that is considered the most severe and rarest lasik complication. She sees a few dozen patients with ectasia; all of them show signs of depression, she said.

Lasik usually safe

Since the mid-1990s, numerous studies have shown that the surgery known as laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, or lasik, is safe and successful in most cases and has become more so with the introduction of new technology. Most of the 1.3 million Americans who undergo the surgery every year are happy with the results. The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, which represents about 9,000 ophthalmologists specializing in laser eye surgery, suggests that 2 percent to 3 percent of lasik patients experience complications.

But surgeons agree that lasik is unlike a face-lift or even most necessary surgery because it affects a process -- seeing -- that is essentially a mental function. The eyes focus light, but what a person actually sees depends on how the brain decodes an image. Neurological differences in decoding explain why dyslexics reverse letters and why alcohol consumption can produce double vision.

Although laser eye surgery has been around for years, little research has been done to explore how the ability to see affects how people feel and act. In 2006, the FDA began to look into lasik complications and quality-of-life issues and determined more research was needed. A task force that includes representatives of the National Eye Institute and the National Institutes of Health has since formed to design a large study that would be conducted by laser eye surgeons across the country.

Vision-mind connection

The FDA is also planning an open public meeting this spring to discuss experiences with lasik devices since their introduction to the U.S. market.

A few researchers have already looked at whether changes in vision can affect the mind. Scientists at the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta reviewed suicides among organ donors who had had laser eye surgery.

Preliminary results suggested the suicide rate might be four times as high among cornea donors who had had lasik as among cornea donors who had not. But the data were incomplete and the numbers could be significantly skewed, said Dr. Henry Edelhauser, the professor of ophthalmology who oversaw the Emory study. One of the participating eye banks failed to provide vital statistical data.

Research that Schallhorn did at the Navy Refractive Surgery Center suggests a relationship between satisfaction after lasik and certain personality traits among patients. Schallhorn declined to provide details. Like the results of the Emory suicide study, his research has not been published in peer-reviewed journals.

But some patients are unequivocal: Lasik complications drove them to contemplate suicide.

In Cleveland, Tenn., Kim Hybarger, 44, a nurse, developed debilitating visual distortions after lasik surgery Dec. 21, 2006. She tried to walk into traffic, cut her throat and starve herself.

"I was filled with anger," she said. "I felt so hopeless and helpless. I just wanted to die. The way I saw was so frightening."

Hybarger's mental state didn't improve until Ed Boshnick, a Miami optometrist, offered to fit her with special contact lenses.

Sales of the special lenses have increased with the rising number of Americans who had lasik since 2000. The lenses can restore the cornea's shape and correct visual distortions.

New lenses help

Boshnick is one of a handful of specialists who have had considerable success fitting the lenses. Hybarger is one of about 250 patients with complications from lasik who regularly see Boshnick. About half of them suffer symptoms of depression, Boshnick said.

The new lenses can clear up more than vision.

Hybarger left Miami remembering the moment she first looked through them.

"It was indescribable," Hybarger said. "It was like the first time I smiled in a year."

The complete article can be found HERE.

2 New Lenses For Post Refractive Surgery PDF Print E-mail

Optometrists and ophthalmologists that work with post-op LASIK problems have 2 brand new lenses at their disposal.

First, J&J Acuvue OASYS now comes in a brand new 8.8 mm base curve, which fits flat on normal eyes but fits well on surgically flattened RK or LASIK eyes.

Second, SynergeyesPS is the first FDA-cleared hybrid contact lens especially designed for patients with oblate corneas resulting from
refractive surgery.

Singapore halts Lasik surgery after inflammation cases PDF Print E-mail


March 14, 2007

A key Singapore eye hospital has suspended Lasik eye-sight correction surgery after a surge in the number of patients suffering from inflammation.

The Singapore National Eye Center (SNEC) halted all Lasik surgeries last week after 17 patients suffered from the Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis inflammation following treatments, according to Ravi Chandran, the center's spokesperson said on Wednesday.

"SNEC has recently seen an unusual increase in inflammatory reaction in patients after lasik treatment," Chandran said, adding that the cause of the inflammations is still unknown.

Singapore is trying to establish itself as a medical center for foreigners. Some 200,000 overseas patients seek medical care in Singapore each year, more than half of them from neighboring Indonesia.

Patients who suffer from the Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis inflammation do not experience any pain or discomfort, but may have blurry vision for one to two weeks, Chandran said.

The suspension, which is the first-ever in the Southeast Asian city-state, is expected to at least last until the end of the month, according to Chandran.

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