This letter illustrates several issues that concern LASIK victims who are conscientious about the public health. First, there's the issue of cognitive dissonance, that is, the fact that some individuals, though obviously injured, continue to minimize their problems in spite of the objective evidence. Second, many of these individuals, and even many of those who acknowledge damage, do not want to confront the LASIK industry. Some fear that they will no longer receive help for their eyes should they do so. Others are so emotionally distressed by their injuries that they need to "keep it calm." To many individuals who believe that truth is the only way forward, these individuals have become "enmeshed" with an industry that seeks to conceal the true risks of LASIK.
If you are considering LASIK, you should know that the writer's allegations of "patient doing well," are heard over and over and over again. Take time to get to know injured patients, it's your best informed consent.
"doing well"...No matter how bad the situation, the doctor writes it off, dismisses it.
A man who works in the office behind me had lasik on the Alcon LADARVision a few years ago. He had to be retreated. Everytime I go into his office he tries to hide his preservative-free artificial tear vials from me. He knows I was harmed by LASIK and think LASIK is a terrible procedure. He has a serious case of cognitive dissonance. A few days ago I told him about the Alcon scandal and the retreatment rate. A few minutes later I went into his office to give him a copy of the legal brief that outlines the problem with the laser and the coverup by Alcon. He took one look at it and handed it back to me and said, "I don't want to read this."
To me, that kind of attitude is what keeps the lasik mill running -- victims who just want to stick their heads in the sand and not know how the industry knowingly harmed them, lied to them, and left them to live their lives with dry eyes and poor vision.
I have been helping another man who was considering a retreatment. He had LASIK a little over a year ago and was never thrilled with his results, but overall considered himself a success because he hasn't had to wear glasses. His eyes are a little dry -- but hey, he had LASIK, right?!?! I gave him a list of things to ask when he goes in to discuss a retreatment and a list of tests that need to be performed. I told him to get all his records and bring everything to me to review prior to his making a decision about a retreatment. He went to the appointment and brought me back a copy of his records. Turns out the guy is blessed because he has very small pupils. He was a low hyperope. After LASIK he said his left eye was never good. All through his post-op records the OD recorded "doing well", even though he was complaining about the left eye. Well, it was easy for me to see what happened to the left eye. They induced a diopter of astigmatism and the treatment is decentered, despite the use of an eye tracker. Did they ever bother to mention any of this to him? Of course not. He asked me what he should do. I told him he has plenty of tissue for a retreatment, but I would never recommend it. I looked at his current refraction (he has regressed a little and has 1D induced astigmatism) and said, "Please, just go get some glasses. The glasses will help you." His reply was, "I didn't have LASIK just to end up wearing glasses again!"
Those words sum up the victimization of patients. No matter how bad the situation, the doctor writes it off, dismisses it.
I have seen these words in a patient chart before. A few months ago I reviewed the records of another LASIK casualty. Her pre-op records show she had lattice degeneration, a retinal disease. The doctor knew it and did LASIK on her anyway. Within a few weeks her retinas detached. She had several subsequent surgeries to repair the retinas, but they kept detaching. During all of her LASIK post-op exams, the doctor recorded in her chart "patient doing well", even though she was complaining of poor vision and a shower of floaters. I could not believe my eyes.... "patient doing well".... with retinal detachment due to his gross negligence!... "patient doing well". Those words are haunting to me.... the mindset of these criminals that do this to people. They don't deserve to be called doctors.