Ads for Lasik surgery abound on television and radio, promising a lifetime of excellent vision with no need for contact lenses or glasses. Due to the prevalence of poor results and complications of Lasik surgery, the FDA has established a website to advise patients about its risks. Risks include loss of vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses; “debilitating” visual symptoms such as glares and halos that impair nighttime vision; and “dry eye” syndrome which may be permanent. The agency warns that Lasik surgery is recent, having been conceived in 1998 and that there is no long term data as to its safety and efficacy is not known. Further, even after surgery, some patients still require glasses, and patients who are farsighted may experience return of farsightedness with aging.
The web site advises:
“If you are considering refractive surgery, make sure you don’t settle for the first eye center, doctor, or procedure you investigate. Remember that the decisions you make about your eyes and refractive surgery will affect you for the rest of your life. ”
“Be wary of eye centers that advertise, “20/20 vision or your money back” or “package deals.” There are never any guarantees in medicine.”
“Some complications, such as migration of the flap, inflammation or infection, may require another procedure and/or intensive treatment with drops. Even with aggressive therapy, such complications may lead to temporary loss of vision or even irreversible blindness.”.
“Be cautious about “slick” advertising and/or deals that sound “too good to be true.” Remember, they usually are. There is a lot of competition resulting in a great deal of advertising and bidding for your business. Do your homework. “