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LASIK: Is That SMILE Really Worth It?

Gurrajan Gill

Earlier this month news reports began to surface of an increasingly large number of individuals who committed suicide after botched LASIK procedures left them in terrible pain. According to reports there has been a steady uptake in the number of individuals electing to undergo elective Lasik procedures, but most are unaware of the relatively short history, lack of research, and the severe complications that follow.

LASIK was first approved by the FDA in 1988 after a relatively short administrative period. Since that period new and more efficient procedures are being developed and marketed to the unsuspecting consumer. One of the more recent approvals came in September 2016, when Carl Zeiss Meditec’s application for ReLEx SMILE was approved by the FDA. Like in the 1980’s, the FDA relied upon a relatively small sample size of 336 eyes spread over five investigation sites in its final approval process. The study commissioned by Meditec documented that the participating surgeons reported their patient’s experienced fast visual recovery with minimal discomfort.

Yet, in its short time on the market in the United States, numerous patients are complaining of pain at significantly higher rates than those reported to the FDA during the approval processes. For instance, a study performed in 2015 noted that 36 months post surgery, 27% patients were reporting complications, including epithelial defect, suction loss, cap rupture, opaque bubble layer, and lenticule rupture. More recently in 2018, a local meteorologist took to her social media platform to document her ongoing struggles with complications following her ReLEx Smile surgery. The complications following surgery and the stories are starting to surface at an alarming rate on social media groups, all sharing the common theme- that their physician failed to inform them of the risks associated with the surgery.

While the industry continues to market and bolster its success percentages, the studies are increasingly indicating that the significant risks are associated with SMILE. If you or a loved one has unfortunately suffered complications from LASIK surgery, please contact us to discuss your claim.

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