A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has recommended bolstering the warnings of the dangers of Lasik eye surgery, reports the Associated Press. The article explains that although Lasik surgery is successful with minimal side effects for the vast majority of patients, as many as one in four people who seek the surgery are not good candidates because their pupils are too large, or due to other issues. Nevertheless, doctors do not always reject such candidates and the patients suffer the side effects, which can be severe: worse vision, severe dry eye, glare and inability to drive at night. The FDA panel heard testimony from patients who suffered from halos, double and blurred vision and eye pain.
The advisory panel has recommended the following changes to the current warnings:
· Add photographs that illustrate what people suffering certain side effects actually see, such as the glare that can make oncoming headlights a huge “starburst” of light.
· Clarify how often patients suffer different side effects, such as dry eye. Some eye surgeons say 31 percent of Lasik patients have some degree of dry eye before surgery, and it worsens for about 5 percent afterward. Other studies say 48 percent of Lasik recipients suffer some degree of dry eye months later.
· Make more understandable the conditions that should disqualify someone from Lasik, such as large pupils.
· And spell out that anyone whose nearsightedness is fixed by Lasik is guaranteed to need reading glasses in middle age, something that might not be needed if they skip Lasik.
Hopefully, the increased warnings will make for a more informed consumer and result in fewer Lasik surgeries performed on poor candidates and a lower incidence of severe side effects.