Posted by Bill Sandweg.
If you have been following our blog for any period of time, you know that one of the things we often discuss is the fact that medicine is a business and the patients are its customers. Like almost all other businesses, the sellers are looking to make a profit and to do so will sometimes exaggerate their products strengths and downplay its weaknesses. Lasik surgery is a prime example.
The New York Times had a recent story about lasik surgery and its risks. It is worth your time to read it.
Lasik surgery is one of the most popular of the elective surgeries. It is used to correct vision in otherwise healthy eyes. Importantly, there is nothing wrong with the eyes of people who undergo lasik surgery that a good pair of glasses cannot fix. In this way, lasik surgery is unlike surgery we undergo to fix a broken body part. For that reason, the risks should be few and small before the FDA approves the procedure. According to the Times story, that has regrettably not been the case.
Many doctors who do lasik surgery make a lot of money doing it. My partner had lasik surgery and swears by it. So do many others. There are, however, a lot of lasik patients who have problems following lasik. If you have lasik, you will sign an informed consent document attesting to the fact that you have been advised that lasik can cause problems and that you agree to accept the risk of those problems. It is the contention of the activists quoted by the Times that problems are far more common that the lasik industry admits, are often more severe than disclosed, and last far longer than most people realize.