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LASIK eye surgery should be taken off market, former FDA adviser says

Cross-Posted from CBS News

LASIK eye surgery has been popular for more than 20 years, with an estimated 20 million Americans undergoing the procedure to correct nearsightedness and improve distance vision. But some patients say the surgery has ruined their eyesight.

The quick, minimally-invasive surgery uses a laser to cut a flap to reshape the cornea at the front of the eye. Now an expert who once backed LASIK is campaigning to get it off the market.


Is Suicide an Adverse Effect of LASIK Surgery?

By S. Nicole Lane

Each year, approximately 700,000 Americans choose to undergo LASIK surgery. Nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism can all be corrected with this procedure, which utilizes a laser to reshape the cornea and improve vision, eliminating the need for contacts and glasses.

The success rate of LASIK is nevertheless very high, with a 96% patient satisfaction rate, as noted by the Journal of Cataract and Refractive SurgeryEric Donnenfeld, MD, former president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, has completed over 85,000 successful procedures. Of these, Donnenfeld reports 96 to 98% of LASIK patients have 20/20 vision post-surgery.

But what about the other 2 to 4%? When complications do occur from LASIK, they may be severe and even life-changing. (continues at MedTruth)


Allow me to use the occasion of your new email address to more fully thank you for the wonderful help you were to me in saving me from a totally unnecesary cataract operation.

You were kind to initially speak to me by telephone. But your further step — of strongly encouraging me to have my supposed cataracts examined by you when I was next in New York — was the clincher.

Deep down I was surprised at the original cataract diagnosis. I thought I was happy with the way my aging eyes worked, and had other engaging things going on in my life (an English girlfriend at the UN in NY, having to close down a sizable company I owned) that were inconvenient to interrupt for a couple of delicate operations and recoveries.

But who would have thought a leading ophthamologist in Boca Raton would have been so sloppy (or worse) in his diagnosis, would have been on the verge of committing outrageous malpractice (on me!!!) but for your careful attention to someone who only knew you distantly, through your sister and Peter.

BTW it is interesting how suggestible an eye patient can be, even a patient who thinks he is “sophisticated”. As mentioned, I had thought my eyes were great. But then, when the Florida, umm, quack told me they were terrible, that I was a danger driving around and would be amazed at the difference after the operation, I began to imagine I was having all kinds of problems driving, in the bright sun, whatever. Of course since you told me my eyes are in good shape, it is amazing how my confidence in them has returned.

All my thanks, Sincerely, Dan

Mr/Mrs. A.T. Johnson, Jr., NY, NY

Dr. Cynthia MacKay is a superb opthomologist who has treated us for the past 20 years. She has repaired torn retina, removed cataracts, implanted lenses and treated glaucoma. We don’t know how we would have gotten through all this without her.

Carol Payne, Bronx, New York

I am a Type l diabetic diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy in l992. There began a relationship with Dr.Cynthia J. Mackay that remains constant. Over the years, innumerable eye blood vessel leakages required numerous laser beam treatments. Each treatment was perfected by the capable hands and medical expertise of Dr.Mackay.

The clarity of vision that I now enjoy is due, in no small part, to Dr.Mackay’s precise scheduling of eye exam visits every 2 months, every three months etc etc. This ongoing schedule enables her to detect,and treat early, any damaged blood vessels in the eye. Gratitude does not adequately express my sincere admiration for, and profound thanks to, Dr.Mackay.


Rachel B., Brooklyn

“Twenty-three years ago, Dr. Cynthia MacKay saved my eyesight. After I woke up one morning seeing things I shouldn’t, my diabetes doctor sent me to Dr. MacKay. Calmly, she checked me out, scheduled a fluorscein angiogram for the next day, and two days later I began 7 weeks of laser treatments that decimated the abnormal blood vessels threatening my retinas.

“I’ve visited her regularly since then, and she is invariably friendly, accessible, and responsive — thoroughly focused on the patient in front of her. I wouldn’t see anyone else.”