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September 28th, 2010
06:28 AM ET

Lasik Surgery Proponent Now Questions Safety of Procedure

The quest for 20/20 vision… Millions of people want it and have undergone Lasik surgery to get it to correct their vision. But the man who was a key proponent to approve laser eye surgery is now speaking out against it. Former Food and Drug Administration official Morris Waxler sees things differently now. Waxler is petitioning the FDA to strengthen warnings and regulations regarding Lasik…. To stop what he calls an “epidemic of permanent vision problems” caused by Lasik. Waxler says data shows more than 50% of Lasik patients have vision problems, such as seeing halos and starbursts around lights and objects and blurriness. Waxler says that 33% of patients end up getting glasses. But not everyone agrees… and we’ll get both sides of this argument.

This morning, CNN’s Kyra Phillips will talk with Morris Waxler and Dr. Stephen Slade who performed the first Lasik surgery in the U.S. at 10:15am ET on CNN Newsroom. We want you to weigh in on this conversation… Do you think Lasik surgery is safe and effective? Tell us what you think and we’ll read some of your comments during the show.

Filed under: Anchors • Kyra Phillips
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. John C from Maryland

    LASIK is safe and it works. My vision has always been 20/20, so I didn't need it, but my wife's vision was -6 and -5. Her contact lenses began to cause her problems, so she had LASIK about 2 years ago. Her visions is now better than mine, and she feels safer than she did before, especially while driving, which is important because she is the one who drops the kids off at school.

    September 28, 2010 at 7:48 am |
  2. Natalie

    4 years post Lasik I am still dealing with dry eyes, fluctuating vision and night vision disturbances. Oh, and for $3000 I am still wearing glasses. Due to so many side effects, I was never deemed a safe candidate for an "enhancement". My surgeon conveniently failed to mention that I was actually a high risk candidate and not the "excellent candidate" that I was assured of being. I got the "less than 5%" chance of side effects hard sell as well.

    And for those people who think it's all about choosing the "right surgeon" and that those of us who experienced complications because we "chose wrong" you are deluding yourself. My surgeon was allegedly one of the most experienced in my state. Lasik is pretty much like playing Russian Roulette with your eyes. There is complete lack of regulation of Lasik along and the FDA's has absolutely failure to take action and warn the public though they've been bombarded with complaints and concerns from some very brave people like Mr. Waxler. Thank you for coming forward.

    September 28, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  3. francois zarraga

    I've had lasik surgery now and it's been 7 years I have problems with dry eyes and feel like my eyes have some type of film on it. y surgeon here in Canada says that's normal. I don't buy that and have cheched with other people that have it done and feel the same feeling there must be some side effects of this surgery that they dont telle us. If it was to start again I would not consider it . I would prefer glasses only.

    September 28, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  4. Barbara Johnson

    Natalie...I am so sorry to hear of your difficulties. I have always felt that the most vital gift I have is my sight and, at 74, would not risk losing that due to the 'hope' that I could see more clearly without glasses. Like all else in life, the first two comments here show us the variables, which, in the case of our vision...appear to be an extremely important consideration.

    In the case of the 'alledgedly best surgeon'...if he failed to mention that you are a high risk candidate...His 'best' qualification just disappeared. Whatever part of us which is being treated needs at least, two opinions...I would say particularly the eyes. I always keep in mind that the Medical practictioners are well educated, people who make mistakes like everyone else. Since my own vision problems are corrected with glasses, I would never consider taking what I consider a high risk with procedures on my precious eyes...


    September 28, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  5. Joel

    Lasik surgery seems routine but is not. Some health conditions can affect the outcome. I had lasik about 10 years ago and an undiagnosed hypothyroid condition, combined with higher than normal pressure in my eye, left me with severe astigmatism in both eyes after the surgery. Before undergoing surgery, patients should have a complete health screening with blood work, even if their eye doctor doesn't require it.

    September 28, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  6. LifeAfterLasik

    I operate LifeAfterLasik and have had my vision permanently ruined by elective LASIK surgery. Morris Waxler has been working with a group of "hurt LASIK activists" now for 3+ years. He has now changed his mind, because he KNOWS how dangerous and debilitating this surgery is. He has seen our emails that we continue to get from hurt/ruined and permanently damaged patients all over the USA. That is why he has come out in such a big way. Yet, the pro LASIK industry, continues to lie about a 99% or 95.4% happy patient satisfaction rate, that NEVER existed, nor exists today. They continue to lie and "spin sell" hurt patients that "new technology" has perfected the surgery. It hasn't, most of our complaints are from RECENT patients (surgery in last 2 years) that are depressed and suicidal. I would love to get on your show today and present some factual points!


    Dean Andrew Kantis

    September 28, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  7. Miko

    Why does the rulers of our nation continue to bombard consumers with "fear" in all aspects of this life???? What is really going on here??

    September 28, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  8. Chad Douillard

    From a person who was born "blind," and had to wear glasses from the age of 1 to have reasonable vision, Lasik was a relief! I chose a Doctor that told me everything that could go wrong,,,,all possible problems, And I have slight cloudiness now and then, but no more than when I wore dirty glasses, or contacts...I rid myself of a troublesome crutch!!!! Lasik's issues are outlined to every patient, and you make a choice....


    September 28, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  9. Mark J

    In my opinion Lasik is safe in the hands of a properly trained, and consciensous ophthalmologist. When I was considering Lasik back in 2001 I interviewed 4 eye surgeons prior to selecting the doctor who performed my procedure. For starters, the patient themselves need to understand Lasik ...what it can and can't do and even more importantly what qualifies a person to have the procedure. Your expectations have to be realistic.

    I had Lasik in June of 2001 and to this day am VERY satisfied with both my surgeon's care and the procedure. I was properly screened and qualified for Lasik and my outcome was excellent and I continue to enjoy fully corrected vision without glasses ...OK, well I do wear reading glasses but I am over the age of 60 and was wearing reading glasses when I was still using contact lenses prior to Lasik.


    September 28, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  10. Ben in Louisville, KY

    June 2010, I turned 35 and as a present to myself, I had Lasik. My only regret was not doing it sooner. I went from 20/400 to 20/15. I was warned by the surgeon of the possible side effects, however; dry eyes for aboug 2 months was my only complaint. It was a small price to pay for perfect vision. It was simple, quick and painless. Immediately after the procedure, I felt like I had something under a contact for a few hours. I was fine the next day and went back to work.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  11. Kim

    Lasik is a safe surgical procedure. I drive for a living and spend my days off in wilderness areas. Lasik allowed me to drive without glasses to correct my near-sightedness. I do not experience halos in night light. However, I doubled the strength of my reading glasses. The advantage of Lasik for me has been the ability to observe scenes in nature without corrective lenses. The disadvantage of Lasik has been greater dependence on strong lenses to read labels whenever I shop for food or equipment. At work, the paperwork and schedules are not font-adjusted for older workers or customers who require reading glasses. Furthermore, lighting pollution is problematic throughout the United States, creating glare and misdirected lighting, reducing highway safety as well as the security of facilities, that is detrimental to Lasik surgery patients and all other citizens. Regulations should be adopted to reduce bad lighting and bad printing, especially as the "Boomer Generation" enters old age.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  12. Colleen

    I had Lasik surgery 10 years ago with no adverse symptoms. I was legally blind. I couldn't see more than 2 feet in front of me without glasses or contacts, and THAT vision was blurred.

    It was the best thing I've ever done for myself. I am just now beginning to have a small amount of nearsightedness, but still not enough to need glasses. I would do it again in a heartbeat, if I'm able to.

    All surgeries pose some amount of risk. Should we question whether they all should be elimated?

    September 28, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  13. Nathan

    I had Lasik back in 2005, still have great eyesight today. There are possible side effects that should be considered. In my case if my eyes get dry enough I will experience a halo effect with all lights. It is very rare with me and I can attribute it to a conventional treatment (prescription treatment instead of wavefront), which applies the lens correction to your cornea instead of correcting for light aberrations as measured by wavefront.

    The procedure is very quick and painless. The results are immediate. It left me wondering why I hadn't thought of it sooner. My vision is still strong today; 20/15 in right eye, 20/20 in left eye. With contacts or glasses as the only alternative, it was an easy decision. Just do the research!

    September 28, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  14. D Feldman

    Slicing your eyes is just dumb. Lasik is dangerous. The future is ICL. The military nows recommends this over lasik.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  15. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Lasik surgery should be left as a last ditch attempt for the legally blind why take a chance when corrective lenses can fix the problem .

    September 28, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  16. Barb

    I had LASIK in 2009 with the latest and greatest iLASIK. I now suffer from chronic dry eye, horrible starbursts, halos, headaches, eye pain and severe depression. I recently found out some horrifying facts after an intern examined my eyes and saw some strange marks. The doctor asked if I a high/moderate correction. I asked how he knew, I was told by my surgeon after the eye heals you can't tell the LASIK has taken place. Well, once you remove lots of the cornea, the flap never fits right and you develop wrinkles/striations in the flap. The flap never completely heals and can be dislocated for your entire life! If LASIK surgeons believed in their surgery and that the complication/side effects were so small, they would not require you to sign an arbitration form before surgery. But, they know if they don't, people would sue them all the time. It was also a shock to find out it is almost impossible to sue a LASIK surgeon, they will not testify against each other so they know they can do almost anything without any consequence. It was also horrible to find out those 95-98% of "successful" LASIK surgeries do not mean without complications/side-effects. I am called a success by my LASIK surgeon even though I am completely miserable and suffer everyday. And I feel sorry for all those “happy” LASIK patients, they have no idea what the long term effects are and how long their temporary good vision will last.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  17. Terri

    I've had LASIK many years ago and have had no issues with my eyes. I did have halos for the first few months after my surgery, however they are gone now. I was 20/600 and 20/800 with severe astigmatism (I was ALMOST not a candidate due to astigmatism, I just made it). I could not see anything without my glasses.

    Even with this guy going against it now, I still highly recommend LASIK for those who are tired of reaching for their glasses to see the alarm clock.

    I'm wondering how many of those individuals didn't do the proper investigation and see more than one LASIK surgeon prior to getting LASIK done. I researched it for a long time before making consultation appointmentS (plural) for LASIK.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:33 am |
  18. Sarah Kringlen

    I have very bad eyesight with a prescription of -5.75. When I first heard about the surgery in the late 1980's or early 1990's, I was very excited that I might someday be able to afford it myself. After doing some reading about it, I discovered that for a prescription as strong as mine, the surgery would never be able to correct my vision to 20/20, and that, at best, I could hope it would improve but I would still always need glasses or contacts. To me, that pretty much negates the purpose. On top of that, all the doctors I know of who perform the surgery have not had it themselves and wear glasses instead. I think that is a pretty good indicator that it's not as great as it sounds. What do they know that the rest of us don't?

    September 28, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  19. Tara

    I had Lasik done 5 years ago without a single side effect or problem. Before Lasik I couldn't see anything without contacts or glasses and now have 20/15 vision. The doctor I went was a leader in the field in my area, he was very straightforward about any complications that could arise and has a wonderful reputation. I am very grateful for the wonderful eyesight that Lasik has given me and the freedom I have from glasses and and contacts.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  20. Monkey Toss TV

    Lasik is not the best...I have the same issues that Mr. Waxman has mentioned.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  21. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Are lasik doctors looking for a quick dollar our helping there patient .

    September 28, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  22. Vincent Marino

    I had LASIK done a year ago and it was the best decision I ever made. Morris was referring to old technology and procedures that no longer apply.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  23. Maggie Brown

    I had Lasik over 10 years ago and I still think it was the best $3000 I ever spent. I went from 20/200 to 20/20 and I've stayed that way. I've never experienced dry eyes and the night halos I once had... are gone. Three cheers for Lasik!

    September 28, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  24. Terri


    You should also have a section for "Those who have no issues with their LASIK surgery" so those who are doing research will see both sides of the story. You should also ask, in the form, how their health was, if there are any issues with it, etc (smoker, drinker, blood disorder, etc) as that can cause issues with ANY surgery.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  25. Amanda

    i had LASIK when i was 14 years old for my lazy eye , today im 17 and my vidion is perfect i dont need to wear my glasses or contects anymore , the best choice ever my parent ever made for me !

    September 28, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  26. Juan Duque

    I am 21 now and had surgery several years ago. Since then my vision has MARKEDLY improved and now only require minimal eye glasses for long distance vision. I do have some light sensitivity, but before the procedure, my vision was so poor and eye glasses so strong that I would get periodic migraines. The surgery has taken away both of these problems and highly outweighs any problems it has caused me.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  27. Nell

    I had Lasik over 7 years was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I have had on issues...only with age I now need reading glasses-but that was explained to me upfront. I would recommend and have to many friends.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  28. Rosemary

    My husband had LASIK 12 years ago for his severe nearsightedness. It was the best thing he did. He has no problems and has better than 20/20 vision. Before, he couldn't see an object 10 feet in front of him without his glasses. He wears no glasses today, and does not have any negative symptoms. I was even planning ahead for our son to possibly get LASIK when he turns 18 as he cannot even find where we are sitting at the beach when he comes out of the ocean.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  29. Holly Malta

    I wore glasses for 40 years. While I still have dry eyes, I wouldn't change the fact that I don't need glasses any longer. Contact lenses felt like rocks in my eyes and glasses made sores on my nose. I love the fact that those problems do not exist anymore.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  30. Susan Woerner

    Around the age of 40, you tend to need reading glasses to correct close-up vision. If you have already had LASIK at that point, you will eventually need to wear glasses to read regardless. As a woman, I enjoy being able to take my mono-vision contact lenses out and still see my face close-up.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  31. Joel R.

    As a surgeon my eyes (and sight) are very important. I had LASIK surgery over 10 years ago. After 3-6 months all symptoms from surgery resolved. I am without glasses and without symptoms here 10 years after the procedure.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  32. Hank Snow

    Had lasik back in 2000 – when I left the doctor's office I had near perfect vision – yes, I had to use reading glasses for close up work – but my near sightedness was gone – and I did not need any more distance correction glasses – a big plus to my wallet! Was without distance glasses for eight more years and over the last two years I've had to use a very minor prescription for distance. My lasik surgery is guaranteed for life and I"m going to return for a correction soon. No regrets whatsoever!

    September 28, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  33. Sandra

    I had Lasik 7 years ago and I am extremely happy with the results. My night vision is better than before. No glare and no significant dry eye problems. I had to go in again because my right eye was better than my left at my follow up visit, but it was easily corrected. I have better than 20/20 vision on both eyes. I do not have to wear glasses.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  34. Shawn Chrystal

    I had RK surgey(knife not laser) in 1998 and it was the best money I ever spent. Except for the slight irritation the first couple weeks it has been great! No problems at all over the last 12 years and the vision is still 20/25

    September 28, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  35. Rachel

    I had Lasik 7 yers ago, I knew the risks, I found a VERY good doctor, paid a little more and am very, very happy with the results. I had dry eyes, which right after the surgery were even dryer but found that a DHA, fish oil or Flax oil supplement daily relieves that issue. I love being able to see without glasses or contacts.

    When someone considers this surgery they need to understand the risks and find a good surgeon, ask the surgeon's success rate, how many people have to return for further surgery etc. Be informed.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  36. Tony McClain

    Had worn glasses since I was 15...Had Lasik over 10 years ago..went from 20/400 both eyes to 20/15 and 20/20 in a 2minute operation!!! Fantastic!! Had some initial hazing at night which went away as I followed the doctors post procedure advice..... Am now 64 and still have great if I can get rid of the reading glasses!!!! 🙂

    September 28, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  37. Brenda

    I had Lasik surgery on both eyes 5 years ago. From the moment I sat up from the table my eyesight was significantly improved. Although I did have a reaction to the antibiotic drops, I don't have dry eyes, night vision problems etc. I have 20/15 vision. It is by far the best $4000 I ever spent. Love it.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  38. Jamie

    I had worn glasses since I was 7 and had Lasik surgery in 1999 when I was 50. I could read the E on the eye chart because I had it memorized. I opted for mono-vision so that I would be able to read without reading glasses. In short, it was miraculous. I had to have a second procedure six months later to sharpen the vision in my distance eye. After that my vision was sharp and clear. I did have some dry eye, but plugs and Restasis solved that problem. In 2009 my distance vision had slipped to 20/40 so my surgeon performed PRK rather than Laskik. The recovery was longer but I now have 20/25 and very rarely need to use glasses for distance, mostly on the golf course. I still have the mono-vision which somewhat compromises the distance vision, therefore the distance glasses for golf and the theater. I would do it again without hesitation, the freedom from glasses and contacts is worth it.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  39. Chee

    I had the LASIK procedure 4 years ago. It was the BEST money I have spent on a medical procedure. Till now, I have a 20/15 vision. Before LASIK, I spent hundreds on dollars on eye glass, disposable contacts, eye drops, etc, etc.

    LASIK is safe and worth it. Though, you can't go cheap. You will need the Life-time enhancement as well as customed LASIK options if those are offered.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  40. a

    I had Lasik done over 9 years ago and have never regretted my decision. I did have dry eyes which responded to artificial tears, but only experienced this for a few months after the procedure. I was amazed at the details I was able to see within a few hours after the procedure. I value my results everyday.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  41. Terri

    Colleen: All surgeries pose some amount of risk. Should we question whether they all should be elimated?

    This is so true. ALL surgeries pose some risk.

    Michael Armstrong Sr.: Lasik surgery should be left as a last ditch attempt for the legally blind why take a chance when corrective lenses can fix the problem .

    Michael, how bad is your vision? After you have to deal with putting on glasses just to see an alarm clock 1 foot from your face, and if your glasses break you are SOL, however often your vision changes, you'll need to update your glasses, you will realize why people look to LASIK. I do not regret my decision and the only regret is not getting it done sooner.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  42. Adam

    I had Lasik in 1998 in Caracas, Venezuela when I was living and working there. I did much research on the doctor that was recommended to me beforehand. I also had him explain all the preliminary tests to make sure I was a suitable candidate. It is still the best money I have ever spent, which back then was a fraction of the cost in the US. I am still amazed to this day that I can see as well as I do.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  43. Del

    I am so happy with my Lasik results. I have very clear vision, don't even need reading glasses at 58 years old. My sister on the other hand is only half as satisfied with her results , she could not hold her eyes still enough during the procedure.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  44. donna martin

    My husband and I had the Lasik done in Michigan 11 years ago, on the same day!!! It was the best money I think I've ever spent!! I have 20/15 vision now, and my husband has 20/20 in the one eye he had done(his other eye was almost perfect.) I had 20/200 in each eye, before the procedure.
    We are both very happy!! Dry eyes for about 1-2 months after the procedure was done. I can see BETTER at night. No halos, etc!
    I still do not need reading glasses (which most of my friends need at our age). I am 51 years old, my husband is 56. He does use reading glasses now, but, he is still very satisfied with the procedure.
    We would recommend our doctor to anyone that wants it done. Dr. Beitman is very well known in MI, he was possibly more expensive than some Drs, but, I think he used some of the most new eqpt, at that time!
    We have only had it performed on our eyes the one time. We needed a cpl followup visits, and now we just see an opthomologist every 3 years! Very satisfied customers!!!!!

    September 28, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  45. Roy Patel

    Dear Kyra,

    I could write a book about this mess what they have done to peoples eyes. I had it done on both eyes and my life is miserable. I wished I never had it done. I am discouraging as many people I can not to make same mistake I did.They claim technology is lot better now. It's quick ,oney in pocket for doctors but believe me IT'S NOT WORTH IT no matter what. As you get older your eye ball shape changes and patient will be changing from near sighted to far sighted. It's a total mess.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  46. Chris

    I had Lasik surgery in January, 2000. It was one of the best decisions that I ever made! I was extremely nearsighted and wore glasses or contact lenses for 38 years. Since having Lasik my vision has been a steady 20/25. The only time I wear glasses is for driving. ( I also have reading glasses, but that is age-related.) For me, having my vision restored with Lasik was truly a miracle. Both of my daughters, who are in their 20s, are quite nearsighted and I don't hesitate to recommend that they have Lasik surgery at some point in their lives.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  47. Jason

    What does the word "safe" mean?
    I had Lasik in 2006. My dry eye syndrome improved, but didn't completely go away. I still deal with it. I notice more "floaters" in my field of vision now. Halos are there, but minor. I can deal with them.
    I'm functional; you wouldn't guess it by seeing me on the street.
    But my dry eye syndrome is a bit of a nuisance. I'm stuck with it.
    I feel like ophthalmologists have abandoned this issue.
    I'm not saying that all or most people will develop problems. I know several people who are thrilled about their Lasik outcome. But I've known some people who have vision problems as well.
    Now... please... will some ophthalmologists develop a cure for lasik-induced dry eye syndrome? I'll be waiting. Thank you.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  48. Kate

    I had LASIK done in July of 2009 and it was the best decision I have ever made. I experienced dry eyes for six months after the surgery, but it has since cleared up. Sure, I experience some halo effects at night if my eyes are dry, but it isn't any worse than I experienced while wearing contacts (which I did from 1994 to 2009).

    I shopped around, I visited many LASIK surgeons and went with the doctor that I was most comfortable with and felt would take care of my needs the best.

    I recently saw another ophthalmologist for a one year follow up and she remarked that it had healed so well, that if I hadn't told her I'd had LASIK....she never would have been able to tell. Again, it was the best money I have ever spent.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  49. Debbie Bowden

    I wore glasses most all my young life then had lasik on both of my eyes in 2001 and have not had any trouble. I have been extremely satisfied with the $2000.00 my husband spent to provide me a glasses-free life. I feel it is of the most importance to do your research and choose an experienced doctor to perform this procedure because it is not for everyone. Thanks Lasik!

    September 28, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  50. Judy Darling

    I had this surgery almost five years ago... unlike both friends and family I didn't go for the discount price but the best doctor in the province.

    The eye I wanted corrected was actually the eye that when wearing glasses had the best visual acuity and I was worried that I'd lose some of that in correction. I can see beyond normal vision.

    My eye is great better even than with a corrective lens. Even though I am 61 my eye continues to have great vision, no dryness, no problem with halos or night vision. I am approaching five years after surgery.

    I would recommend that people do more research not asking friends or going for the best price. Go for the best doctor and the best equipment.


    Judy Darling

    September 28, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  51. Laurie Luster

    One of my clients is a lasik center and they do excellent work. My husband and I have both had lasik and we love it. There are hundreds of patient testimonials on my client's website, and I receive new testimonials to post there every week.

    Good lasik results are highly dependent on the experience of the doctor and screening techniques. My client uses the most accurate screening equipment available and the doctor has 30 years experience in vision correction surgery. There are excellent, good and not so good doctors in any medical specialty. Anyone considering lasik should make sure they are going to an excellent lasik surgeon who uses excellent screening technology.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  52. Hana Lange

    I had LASIK done in 1998. It is the best thing I ever did. I love it. I had it done with a wonderful Dr. I paid 3000 per eye for it. But that is what is importent. There are so many Drs that are doing it now very cheaply.
    We must remember YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  53. randy

    I don't know about NASA, but the FAA as of 2002 did not allow lasik surgery, so i question the doctors comment that NASA allows it!

    September 28, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  54. Y Norris

    I'm 11 months post-op. I've never experienced dry eyes nor allergies before the surgery, now its on-going. I'm due to have a refinement in the left eye due to blurriness, next month. Would I do it all over again if I had an opportunity? Without a doubt. I accepted the option of Lasik Sugery expecting post-op maintenance (eye drops, etc), but most surgeries out there requires post-opt maintenance. Such is life.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  55. Kristi

    I had Radial Keratotomy in 1995 to correct severe nearsightedness. I have had 20/20 vision ever since with no problems. It has been wonderful not to have to mess with contacts or glasses all these years. They said I may have to wear reading glasses as I get older, but I don't need them yet. The surgery did nothing to help my depth-perception problem. It was very, very scary to have the surgery with the knife and all, but I think the laser would be scarier.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  56. Jodi

    I had Lasik surgery in January 2005 and it has been one of the best decisions of my life as it relates to my vision health. I never had any side effects after my inital recovery period (which was very short with no major issues) and wake up every morning seeing the world as anyone should. I think it is important to make sure that you are screened properly to ensure that you are a good candidate and that you go to a reputable doctor. Most people will end up with reading glasses at some point. Do your research! I did and continue to be 100% satisifed.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  57. Nathalie St-Jean

    I had lasik surgery last Friday at 3pm. I had one of the highest prescription possible and I was told that I might need some touch up later on. My follow up appointment was Saturday morning at 8 am and I found out that my vision is now better than 20/20. It's a little bit hazy and there is some glare right now but is not worst than wearing contact lenses and I can see better at night than I ever did. This is the best 3000$ I've ever spent.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  58. Joyce Brown

    While hindsight is 20-20, Lasik is definitely not! Blurred vision, halos, poor night vision and dry eyes are the continued results of my surgery three years ago. Reading now requires BRIGHT, BRIGHT lighting and I am now limited to daytime driving. The comment regarding, "we will do everything we can to help those with these problems" requires providing the information to obtain this help promised. How do we followup?

    September 28, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  59. Anita Goecke

    I had Lasik perfomed on my eyes 7 years ago and my eyesight was terrible. I had worn very thick glasses as a teenager and then I wore contact lenses for years. Finally I decided on the surgery and never have regretted it. I have no problems other than normal aging of the eyes.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  60. Dont do lasik

    Every person considering LASIK should ask themselves if they are ok with taking a chance at going blind. All LASIK surgeons should also ask that of their patitents. If the answer is "no" then they should not procede with the surgery. The problem is that surgeons sell it as a safe and low risk procedure so people have a false sense of security. Even if doctors say their is just a 1-2% complication rate, that means they are saying for every 100 patients they operatre on, they ok if 1-2 people loose their vision and can no longer work, read, watch tv or have a decent life. It's an elective surgery, there is no reason for it. I would like to know why the doctors think the risk is worth it? What benfits outweigh the risk of going blind. The only benefit is the profit the surgeon makes. Of course, the guy on tv knows they are protected by the informed consent so they can say whatever or even lie, the injured patient has no rights.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  61. Sylvia Stephens

    I just saw Dr. Slade talking about Lasik on CNN and he was my surgeon. I've had 2 procedures on my left eye and 3 on my right eye, all done by Dr. Slade. My left eye is not perfect, but I'm satisfied with it; however, my right eye had very bad double vision after an enhancement. I had the 3rd procedure to try to correct the double vision. The doubling is not as bad now but I cannot see clearly out of that eye at any distance - near or far. It bothers me constantly as it is my dominant eye. I regret having the surgery. And in my opinion, Dr. Slade is one of those doctors who will never admit a mistake or that something may be wrong. He was recommended to me as being "the very best". I beg to differ.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  62. Lora

    I had Lasix surgery in 1999. At the time my vision was 550/500, if my glasses were not right on my bedside,I couldn't see to find them. I could no longer use contacts as much because my eyes weren't receiving enough oxygen when wearing them. I did go to an excellent opthamalic surgeon, who charged $6,000, but it was well worth it.

    My vision is 20\40, and I don't have any problems, except for chronic dry eyes which I had before the surgery. I had to start wearing glasses when I was 8 years old, I am now 48 years old, and am so grateful for the almost perfect eye sight I have now. I know I will eventually need reading glasses, but am lucky to be able to still read with out any at this time.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  63. Jeff

    I had Lasik in 2000, crossing the border from Detroit to Windsor to have it done. I do still have nite-time halos, and now require reading glasses, but I have NO REGRETS for having the surgery. The overall health of my eyes has vastly improved without me sticking my fingers and contact lenses in my eyes everyday. No more glasses, no more eye infections, excellent distance vision to the point that I still marvel at how clear each leaf is on a tree. I was an excellent candidate, it should be noted, and that results vary. Also, I don't dwell on the negatives because the positives are great. Remember – Medicine is not an exact science, but certainly not because of lack of effort or ingenuity.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  64. mohsin virani

    i had lasik last year,it worled out great i had side efeects for 1 week and after that no problems at all.its great to have a perfect 20/20 vision

    September 28, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  65. Chad Douillard

    Another factor in my decision for selecting to have lasik surgury done: I had just been awarded a large financial settlement. With this, I chose a Doctor that had the Highest sucess rate on the West Coast. This was approxamitley 16-18 years ago. The Doctor was in Beverly Hills, and had the 'best' laser available at the time. 'tracking' of the eye to prevent the laser from mis-correction. Promising no night vision trouble, no 'rings.' I paid $2400. For the same exact surgury, with the same laser now, it probably costs $1200, or less. Hardware, and schooling prices have dropped for Doctors.

    But, the factor I pointed out to everyone: There is a risk of corneal damage. No matter how good the laser, there is always risk of movement, or error somehow, some way. But you must weigh your desire for living without that aide hanging on your nose, or making your eyes infected and scratchy, or the chance of a problem in the short surgical procedures on your eyes!

    September 28, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  66. Amy Bell

    Dr. Waxler is correct. Dr. Slade is not telling the full truth. Although LASIK technology is better today, problems do still occur. Dry eyes and night vision problems occur frequently after LASIK, even with newer technologies. These problems can be permanent and life-altering. Corneal ectasia, which is a devastating complication often requiring corneal transplant, is still a risk of this surgery. Dr. Waxler has nothing to gain financially by coming forward now to say that the FDA did not take LASIK "side effects" seriously enough. Dr. Slade is speaking on behalf of Big Ophthalmology - there is a huge financial incentive on the part of organized ophthalmology to downplay LASIK problems. Some ophthalmologists have abandoned medicine altogether in favor of this lucrative business of LASIK. Dr. Waxler is a hero to step forward now and take on the very powerful ophthalmologists who pressured the FDA to approve the devices used to perform this unnecessary, risky surgery. And, by the way, Dr. Slade and his colleagues are doing NOTHING to help those of us living with permanent complications from LASIK.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  67. Marie

    3 years ago I had a surgery because my vision was bad at night and according to the doctor my eyes was to dark. Now I have blurry vision. When it is raining or cloudy I can not drive. My husband had the same lasik surgery he almost lost his eyes after the surgery.. I talked about that to so many doctors but they couldn't give me any reason why that happens to me. They have no idea what the side effects are. After the surgery I call a lawyer to see what I can do. It is impossible to prove it is because of the surgery or their mistake.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  68. Sylvia Stephens

    Oh, and it has cost me $6000 and caused a lot of emotional distress. And it is not recommended that I have further surgery as the risk increases with each procedure. So I guess I'm stuck with this problem for life.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  69. Naive idiot

    I had cataract surgery last year at 40. Like snake oil salesmen with their lasik I have been totally screwed by my doctor. (Dr. Shawn Cohen of Montreal)

    My starburst patterns are terrible. My dry eyes are rampant, and I can't get 20/20 vision no matter what in one eye. Ohhh and did I mention that reading letters (how I make a living) are a PIA.

    My "expert in his field" surgeon has little/no interest in his patients post surgery and collecting his money, and I'm left with the crappy results.

    If he had been honest with me before the surgery about potential complications I never would have done it.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  70. Jodi

    I had Lasik in 2000 by a highly revered surgeon in Virginia. I wanted the surgery because I was very active in sports. I played on softball and volleyball league teams for my employer. My glasses would fog up in the heat of the summer and the dust from the field would irritate my contacts. I had Lasik and loved if for the first 8 years. my astigmitism has come back and I have to wear glasses again. Now I am also suffering with complications of dry eye. Think twice before getting the surgery because of the long term effects.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  71. Karl Stonecipher

    I perform LASIK and have had LASIK myself. A day does not go by that I wake up to see without glasses and thank my surgeon. Having performed LASIK for over 15 years I can say that much of what Dr. Waxler has to say is just wrong and fabricated comments that are not what my personal experience or public experience has been. Multiple post-LASIK approval studies that have been published in the scientific literature show the safety and efficacy of the procedure.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  72. Jan Friar

    I had the earliest form of this eye surgery in the mid-eighties: radio-keratonomy (not sure if I spelled that correctly). Before lasik, they used surgical cutting tools. I now have dry eyes, terrible night vision with star-bursts.... and I stillI wear glasses. Without a doubt, I would not do this again if I COULD go back. No one is contacting me for a follow-up, maybe they can't find me? No clue. Dr. Newmann in Deland, FL, did my surgery.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  73. RuinedVision

    Since I had my LASIK several years ago, I am unable to drive at night I have double vision in one my eyes My eyes burn all the time as a result of dry eye disease that this surgery created. I need rigid lenses but I have not found any that I can tolerate. This surgery has effected my entire life including my employment.. LASIK was the worst decision I have ever made, . I believe you will see a Congressional investigation into the adaption of the military of this technology. As Waxler ways, the doctors who are pushing it on the military (whose recruits must please their officers) are benefiting from windfall private sector entrepreneurism.
    As far as the FDA and the criterion they used to approve the excimer for LASIK, I am a success as side effects like dry eye, double vision, night blindness were never fully evaluated. As Waxler said, they focused only on acuity. BUYERS BEWARE of greedy LASIK doctors and the impotent FDA by whom they are captured. My surgeon was done by a fellowship trained surgeon (not a LASIK mill) who boasted a 100% success rate, and I guess with the marginal criterion of success that the FDA adopted, I was a success.
    ABC news posted a story yesterday about a newroom person Mr P. who had LASIK and reports seeing five headlights on each oncoming car, and depsite this vision, he would have the surgery done again. Trust me from personal experience, you do not want someone on the road like that.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  74. Darryl

    I had lasik 10 years ago and am glad I did it. I'm 55 years old, it has started to fade...just wanted to know if an enhancement would be recommended. I've enjoyed being glasses free all of these years!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  75. Matt

    I had my LASIK performed nearly two years ago and couldn't be more pleased with the results. I used a center that specializes in LASIK only and they use the procedure that cuts the flaps with laser light as well instead of a blade. They had me perform a few months of pre-op treatment to make sure my eyes were really in best shape to have the surgery. I also was an excellent candidate with only a slight correction needed and my eyes were in good shape to begin with. Immediately after the surgery, I would say I noticed night halos some and had some dry eye issues but they've fully resolved and my sight is at least 20/20 possibly even 20/15. I think it's important to find a doctor or a center with a very good track record, with the latest equipment and ask A LOT of questions to ensure you are a good candidate understanding that this is not a magical fix. Any surgery is a fix to improve your quality of life and has risks and consequences no matter how well it goes.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  76. John

    I received my fist Lasik surgery 12 years ago at one of the premier centers in the country. At that time the Doctor told me I would need one enhancement surgery within two years, which I received for free. For the first year I experienced halos when approaching oncoming headlights when driving at night, but that has subsided. After spending most of my life dealing with glasses and contacts while being active in a variety of sports, I can say that Lasik has given me a better quality of vision and a simpler lifestyle. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested. But I would also recommend that anyone who is interested do their homework and choose a top notch Lasik center/Dr, not just any convenient center.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  77. John Guillory

    After graduating from high school my son wanted to join the marines. Upon completing his medical exam. the medical doctor found him unfit due to his sight exceeding the maximum allowable to pass the test. His refractionary vision exceeded military requirements.
    My son wore glasses. So we got and paid for Lisik for him that improve his vision to 20/20 vision.
    He went back for a second examination and pass, but still denied because now he had a (PRE-EXISTING CONDITION) by all the branches.
    He was very distraught and heart broken and that affected him tremendously and that changed his life of worth.
    What could he have done to be accepted by the military branches.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  78. Sharon D. Mays

    Hi, I saw the news show this morning about the lasik i'm glad i'm not the only one with this problem. I had the lasik done when it first came out in the early ninties in Nashvile, Tn. And i've been having this problem ever since. I want to know did the Doctors on your show say what can be done to correct this problem and what should i do, because my i sight is getting worst, the vision is rapidly decreasing and fading with the other thing that was said on the show. Thank You please respond fb or email

    September 28, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  79. Debra Peter

    How interesting that you bring this subject to light! I had worn corrective lenses/contacts since the age of 10, and I am now 48. I experienced frequent eye infections and corneal abrasions from the use of the contact lenses. My vision was 20/400, so after many years of dealing with eye problems, I had Custom Vue Lasik done on both eyes approximately 6 years ago. It has been a miracle for me! My vision is not perfect, about 20/40, but I am free from the hassle of contacts and corneal abrasions! The surgery was painless, and I cried after opening my eyes to crystal clear vision after the surgery!
    I have noticed problems in the last year; however, with blurred vision at times, problems with night vision, and trouble reading small print. I will admit that part of this could be due to my age, as I am 48. It is coming close to the point though that I will have to decide whether to have another Lasik done or resort to wearing corrective lenses again, which I don't want to do.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  80. Anthony

    I'm 30 and received (bladeless) Lasik 2 years ago after having a steady, mid strength prescription, with a slight astigmatism.
    Lasik changed my life. NO dry eyes, NO halos (slightly during first few weeks) and still 20/20 vision. I read ALL the horror stories online, and was almost discouraged. My mind was made after talking with people who had the surgery, discussing it with my eye doctor, and after seeing my screening results after a Lasik consultation. Go with a reputable Lasik center and don't cut corners. Research the doctor's experience, number of successful surgeries, and talk with former patients.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  81. Dont do lasik

    All these comments just confirm the misconception with LASIK. Having an experienced surgeon and using the new technology is not any safer. Your cornea is cut by a laser and thinned down. Complications and side-effects are unavoidable , it is not perfect and never will be. Just because one person is happy, doesn’t mean you will be. Most people really don’t understand what they have done to their eyes. The one person who said their eye doc can’t even tell they had it done either had a very minor correction or a bad eye doctor, everyone has a permanent scar after LASIK, that is why doctors can remove the flap years later to do more surgery. Yes, all surgeries have risks but doing surgery because your life depends is one thing. Doing elective surgery to weaken your cornea is just plain stupid. Most people will have their vision corrected later in life with cataract surgery so why take a risk now. And for nearsighted people, you just end up replacing one pair of glasses with another. Nearsighted people retain their close up vision. My mom, who is nearsighted and 65, still doesn’t need reading glasses. LASIK robs you of your close up vision.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  82. dom

    What Mr. Waxler has been trying to prove is what most LASIK casualties have been doing for well over 6 years, informing the public of the true risks of LASIK. Since the FDA is ignoring facts because they're too wrapped up in corporate interests, we'll continue to do their job!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  83. Harvey J.Garza

    I consider lasik surgery to be a dicey proposition for anyone considering improving their vision by going under the knife (lazer) . . . since the eye is so important for our daily lives. Sure it's great to not have to wear eyeglasses or contacts . . . but there are risks. For one; a person has to do their research on the lasik surgery procedure and ascertain any benefits and any potential risks to their vision. Next; you have to find a Board Certified Ophthalmologist who has been performing this type of surgery for alot of patients, and has an excellent track record of success. There are physcians in other specialties that get a minimal amount of training in lasik surgery to earn an endorsement to perform lasik surgery. That would be a pitfall in selecting an excellent lasik surgeon. Since this type of surgery is lucritive for the physcian performing lasik . . . the results aren't what they should be. A person has to ask themselves the question: Is this worth the risk. If the reason your thinking of getting lasik surgery is cosmetic, or you feel that your tired of eyeglasses or contacts because of expense or some other narcissitic reason; or even if the lasik surgery would possibly be advantageous for a primo job . . . it just isn't worth the trouble. For those who have initial success in getting better vision that approaches 20/20 . . . this vision will be shortlived because every humans eye goes through macular degeneration (usually begins around 50 years of age; sometimes earlier). It's a fact of life; that everyones vision deteriorates to appreciable degrees over time. A lasik surgery that didn't go exactly as planned occurred to my own brother. My brother had 20/400 vision correctable to 20/20 with glasses. He chose (against my advice) to get the lasik surgery because of vanity; as in a mid-life crisis of "I would look so much better". My brother has a Federal Law Enforcement Position where he was functioning just great with his eyeglasses. Now; the results are stellar, there acceptable, not perfect. He had to go back to the lasik surgeon to get one eye redone . . . and he has problems with bright sunlight. I just hope that his vision doesn't deteriorate from what I hope is adequate vision approaching 20/20. Since I'am astranged with my brother; can't say what his vision is now. Question: Is the surgery really worth it? Everyone that gets lasik surgery will eventually need eyeglasses; since this procedure is short-lived because of natural occurring loss of one's vision because of age.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  84. Karen Baird

    I have been severely myopic since the age of 10. I am now 70. A year ago, my cataracts were finally "ripe". I had no idea the miracle that awaited me seconds after the LASIK surgery. Not only were my cataracts immediately removed, giving me perfectly clear vision, my "prescription" for nearsightedness was also inserted in my eyes and I now have vision equal to that if my 4 1/2 year old granddaughter. I have become a jigsaw puzzle queen. I was never able to see well enough to do the puzzles before. Dr. Stephen Slade is the one who insisted that I wait almost 10 years for the cataracts to ripen before having the surgery. Thank you, Stephen, for your brilliance!

    September 28, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  85. Lasikdecision

    The websites some in the LASIK casualty community have posted:,, lasik-flap,com, lasikcomplications,com,, are testament to what Mr. Waxler is saying. Most of these sites have been up for well over 7-8 years, some even longer. These sites have been doing what the FDA could not and did not do – inform the public of the true risks of LASIK without downplaying those risks. Think the FDA works? Look at the informed consent that's there to protect the doctors! Want more proof? Look at the countless thousands whose live are forever damaged!

    Dom Morgan

    September 28, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  86. Linda Shoemaker

    I had Lasik surgery about 5-6 years ago. Worse decision of my life! I now were 2 differnt pairs of glasses! I rarely drive at night because my vision is so poor. I have miss shaped corneas and swealing of the corneas. By 3:00 in the afternoon the double vision is so bad that I worry about driving home from work. I was assured that my corneas were thick enough for this surgery. No problem I was told!!! I also went to the very best surgeons in Oklahoma City. Please do not have this surgery done to your eyes!!!

    September 28, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  87. Michael Busse

    After listening to this mornings discussion and reading many points of view I feel compelled to enter the discussion. First, anyone who enters into any surgery without researching the risks and complications is not an intelligent person. All too often along the freeway / expressway, billboards advertised lasik surgery for $399 per eye. Unfourtunately people buy into negative and risky advertising which spreads fear along with misinformation.

    Mr. Waxler, while he discussed many physiological points of contention, utilized a shotgun spatter of negative aspects of this procedure. He came off ill informed as if he has a vendetta against an industry which has helped many people see better.

    I had laski performed about 3 years ago by Dr. Stephen Slade in Houston. I have excellent vision, 20/20 in one eye and 20/15 in another. I flew from California to have him perform my surgery. Did I do research on the risk, complications, and all around bad things that "could" happen? Yes I did. Did Dr Slade and his staff inform me of these risks....yes they did. Dr. Slade has written the text book from which other doctors learn.

    People really need to be informed about what they are getting themselves into. Mr. Waxler was so far off base in my opinion I cannot fathom where he received his opinion from unless he was reading journals from years ago. To add one point of his discussion where he was extremely wrong is pointing out was his comment about the thickness of the cornea and how a thin cornea will cause the eye to bulge. Any reputable surgeon tests this on you prior to performing any surgery and will not operate on you if you are afflicted with this condition.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  88. Anne

    I had Lasik surgery about 11 years ago. It was fantastic to see after wearing glasses and contacts. However, I did experience the dry eye, halo syndrome.

    Now I am facing cataract surgery. I have not heard much discussion as to what effect Lasik might have on this–most docs have told me none, but after this report, I wonder as my cornea has been "thinned"..

    In addition, this was the first time I heard that cataracts might be treated through lasers rather than through traditional surgery–not offered by any of the ophthamologists I have consulted. Would love to know the best course of action for this.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  89. Matt

    You all know of Big Tobacco, now meet Big LASIK. Of course, the LASIK industry is going to deny any problems with LASIK. Of course they are going to say it's safe. LASIK is a cash cow for them.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  90. Matt

    @ Anne You will be able to have cataract surgery but it is much more difficult to get an accurate prescription. Many LASIK patients currently happy with their good vision will find this an unpleasant surprise later in life to end up with worse vision after cataract surgery than they would have otherwise if they had not done LASIK. Of course doctors will say there is no affect on cataract surgery but what are you going to do when you end up with a complication? Try to go back and sue that doctor? They know you can’t so they will say whatever they want. The next time a doctor tells you that, ask for them to put that in writing.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  91. M. Taylor

    I had PRK surgery which is a form of Lasik – the surgeon chooses between Lasik, Laser or PRK to correct your vision based on your prescription. I had very bad astigmatism and wore contacts for 30 years so her chose PRK. In this procedure they use a laser light but do not cut your eye. It was quick, painless, and the result was immediate. I never experienced halos, dry eyes or blurriness. It was the best money I ever spent. I have 4 acquaintences that had Lasik and they had great results as well with no side effects.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  92. Debra

    I had LASIK done almost 11 years ago and have not regretted it for one moment! I was so near-sighted that I could only see about 4 inches in front of my face without corrective lenses. Even with contacts I only corrected to about 20/80, now I am 20/15 most days. The surgery changed my life. The most amazing thing for me was to wake up in the morning and be able to see my kids smiling faces... not having to look for my glasses or put my contacts in first. I also do not have foggy or scratched glasses, missing or torn contacts. I have a little halo effect, but nothing different then wearing glasses. I recommend it, but please realize it is a surgery. There are risks, just like any surgery. Who has had a surgery with no scars or imperfections???

    September 28, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  93. Denise

    A Lasik Story
    1. Surgery #1, In 2000 Dr. X. in New York. Performed a Lasik Operation to my Dominant left eye to correct moderate Myopia (nearsightedness).
    2. Surgery #2, With in that year, told by Dr. X that he didn’t correct the Myopia enough first time, and I needed a second Lasik surgery.
    Came out of surgery with eye sensitivity, fuzzy vision, and halos,
    3. Started to get epithelial cell growth under the flap, soon after I was advised by Dr. X not to do anything, that most cases clear up with out surgery in about 2 years. (The same as the statue of limitations)
    Unfortunately I believed him, and the cells increased, and were firmly planted by then.
    4. Went to another Doctor Dr.Y when it didn’t get any better and I was told that he didn’t want to take on another doctors problems and suggested that I go back to Dr. X.
    5. Surgery #3, Dr X peel off some cells from my under the flap. The surgery did not work, I still had double vision, and after a while the cells got even bigger. I found out later, that he didn’t have the proper equipment to treat me.
    6. Went to Dr. Z an associate of Dr.Y. because Dr.Y wouldn’t see me, and I was advised to go back to Dr. X again for surgery.
    After consulting a third Doctor, my feeling was that, if they were uncomfortable working on another doctor’s problems, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to force them, So back to Dr.X
    7. Surgery #4, 3/2/04 Dr. X tried to remove cells this time by scraping flap & washing with alcohol, causing excruciating pain, and the condition worsened even more.
    8. Surgery #5, 5/12/05 Dr. X again, but this time he over shaved my corneal as well as the flap and applied a stronger solution of alcohol. He promised me that what he was shaving was so minute that it would not effect my vision at all. Result: it destroyed my distance vision and caused a very extreme double distorted vision plus I still have the original problem with light and halos on top of everything else.
    9. Condition as of 12/ 2008 In constant pain, wake up nightly.
    Dr. X keeps trying new experimental contacts, to reshape the cornea.
    My life is now dictated by my sight limitations. Adding Insult to injury, Dr. X charges for visits, contacts, and even experimental contacts recently.
    PS: Looking for a new ophthalmologist.

    September 28, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  94. Mark

    Had LASIK 1.5 years ago and wife got so jealous she followed 6 months later. Neither one of us could read the big E on an eye chart. Both of us are a little older so recovery was not over night. We started at 20/40 and 20/30 following surgery and reached 20/20 within a month with night vision artifacts taking a little longer to resolve. This was all within our doctor's experience. Both of us have gone from being absolutely dependent on glasses/contacts to only needing reading glasses. Even if we had perfect vision to start with, we'd need readers by this point in our lives.

    We both have a little bit of dryness when waking up but nothing that an eye drop or two doesn't take care of. Our humid summers have helped that. We both went to highly respected cataract and refractive surgery physicians.

    If anything the surgery (and it is surgery) changed my wife's life more. She could not navigate a familiar room without glasses/contacts and often stumbled over things at night because she couldn't see them. Now a nighttime trip to the bathroom is not a problem. We both love the fact that late night trips home aren't filled with the worry that our contacts are bugging us.

    I look at the recent questions about LASIK with a very skeptical mind. Supposed statistics were presented but without any quantification of them. The person calling them into question is not a physician. And -apparently – there are other concerns about statements he's made in the recent past mis-quoting/mis-interpreting references and other statistics.

    Both my wife and I consider our LASIK 100% successful and would do it again if we had to.

    September 28, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  95. Junior

    I am a physician who had LASEK. It was the worst decision that I ever made. I think that this is the most unethical medical practice in the world. What the public needs to know is when you have a bad outcome, the severity of that outcome is bad and can significantly change your life. Remember the effects of LASEK are permanent. They state that now LASIK is much safer in 2010, but what were all the patients that were injured before then, ginny pigs. Totally unethical. I think that any ethical physician would tell you up front that this is risky and not just tell you everything will be great. I have lost income and lost my independence because of this deception and I paid for it. I am ashamed that a branch of United States medicine has sank to this level of unethical practice and then try to defend it knowing about the complications. Don't believe Dr. Slade and don't put your eyes at risk. I beg you.

    September 28, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  96. Junior

    I am a physician who had LASEK. It has ruined my life. I have daily fluctuations in vision. I can not see in dim light at all mainly due to my loss of contrast sensitivity. I was told I suffered an epithelial defect after my surgery and now I can not see well enough to practice medicine anymore. I have lost income and my independence because I bought into the "SAFE" claim. If it is so safe then why isn't everyone happy and the ones that are not happy shouldn't be dealing with the complications for the rest of their lives. This is not reversible and you are stuck with it if you come out bad.

    September 28, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  97. mike

    The rate of LASIK complications has actually gone down with the advent of the femtosecond laser for cutting flaps (previously done by razor blade "keratome")... however, the biggest "problem" with LASIK is not the success rate but rather the psychology of patients seeking "cosmetic" perfection. This is a litigious group to start with... nose job, boob job, eye job.. no matter.. they will never be happy because their self-image is horrible.. and no amount of surgery will ever change that. LASIK works fine, but it's not a panacea that some seek.

    September 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  98. mike

    Lasik, was the worst decision of my life....I was told by a Board Certified Surgeon I was a perfect candidate. Now after two Cornea Transplants, two intac surgeries, 5 PRK surgeries, two more lasik surgeries on my Transplants. I am Disabled, vision in left eye 20/1200, I have a special lens on my right eye that enables me to see for no more than 12 hours, and that is at a fixed focus... I have not been able to drive at night for over 5 years. PS. I thought one eye was going to be fine....5 years later, sight gone. This is Elective. DO NOT Do This! It is junk science. Studies only done by those who benefit. Wake up! its America, Buyer be Ware! No matter what anyone tells you, Do Not Do This. A disabled person from LASIK Surgery. Thanks

    September 28, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  99. James

    M. Taylor: PRK is NOT a form of LASIK. PRK and LASIK are both forms of laser vision correction, but they are very different and one cannot be accurately described as a form of the other.

    September 28, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  100. JD

    I had Lasik done in April 1996. I am 14 1/2 years out from surgery. I am 46. Both eyes are better than 20/15 and I still read anything put in front of me despite the size, but I am starting to feel the pull of the over age 40 eye. Why did I do Lasik and so early? I became contact lens intolerant and hated glasses. I was a – 4. Glasses gave me a headache because I broke my nose in high school football. I had some dry eye with allergies before surgery and still have some complaints during the Spring and Fall allergy season. Would I do it again? Absolutely, totally changed my life. From my perspective if you like glasses or contacts keep using them. If you want an alternative try Lasik is an option. I have seen the horror stories and frankly don't know what to make of them. Are all of the real complaints or just from complainers in general??? If there are a million lasik done a year I guess there will be some unhappy folks.

    September 28, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  101. Cedric Miller

    I had lasik and love it. Also love reading blogs and realize some people just don't think. Saying a person that appears on national tv doesn't have an agenda or no place for financial gain is naive. The surgeon has an interest. The former FDA guy may have an agenda as well. How can one say he doesn't? He said he is still involved with a bunch of products. Sounds like he is a consultant or expert in the industry. Hey, he may make money from a competitor to lasik. Imagine that.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
  102. Tonja Smithson

    I had Lasik done in April 1996. I am 14 1/2 years out from surgery. I am 46. Both eyes are better than 20/15 and I still read anything put in front of me despite the size, but I am starting to feel the pull of the over age 40 eye. Why did I do Lasik and so early? I became contact lens intolerant and hated glasses. I was a – 4. Glasses gave me a headache because I broke my nose in high school football. I had some dry eye with allergies before surgery and still have some complaints during the Spring and Fall allergy season. Would I do it again? Absolutely, totally changed my life. From my perspective if you like glasses or contacts keep using them. If you want an alternative try Lasik is an option. I have seen the horror stories and frankly don't know what to make of them. Are all of the real complaints or just from complainers in general??? If there are a million lasik done a year I guess there will be some unhappy folks.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
  103. Cindy

    After reading Michael Busse's comments, I now feel compelled to comment. I ruined many aspects of my life having PRK, but I, too, like Mr. Busse did my research – I paid top dollar – I had a surgeon who does as many of these as anyone in the country and travels the world teaching others. In fact, while I had my first (of 3 surgeries) he had several doctors from other countries watching the procedure.

    Every time I raised examples of bad results to my doctor, prior to the surgery, he countered it with the same points many have made – an inexperienced surgeon, old equipment, probably not a good candidate in the first place. But his exact words, when I said I wouldn't pay him $5000.00 if I was still going to need glasses, were that he wouldn't be doing the surgery if he expected me to need glasses (excepting reading glasses.)

    Almost 3 years later, I cannot work at the computer for longer than an hour without feeling nauseous. I read fine print with one eye shut, my eyes hurt constantly, lights are extremely distorted and I get very depressed that I chose to do this to myself. I wear 3 different pairs of glasses for various activities during the day. They will not ever correct my vision completely, because of the irregularities in my cornea. I think these are important outcomes that people should be aware of.

    I am happy so many people have had success -many of my friends have, but MANY do not – no matter what doctor they use, how much research they do, or the amount of money they spend. Any surgery is a risk, but based on all of the replies, it seems to me Dr. Waxler is right – the risk may be much higher than previously stated...and IF the risk is 20%, not 1%, that information is needed to even start to make an informed decsion.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
  104. Arthur Cummings

    I have been an ophthalmologist for close on 20 years and have yet to come across a better procedure than LASIK. It has an enviable safety record when compared to contact lenses. It changes people's lives overnight and painlessly. The procedure should not be on trial. The way it is practiced is a different issue altogether. Because LASIK has been trivialized, prospective patients seek out the cheapest deals instead of the best clinics. It is a medical procedure with known complications and the best clinics and surgeons avoid complications by proper patient selection and if complications occur, take proper care of them. How else can you explain that the group of people who have had LASIK more than anyone else on the planet, are refractive surgeons themselves.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:25 am |
  105. dontdolasik

    Exactly, what surgery doesn’t result in scars!! It is one thing to have a scar on your body after surgery but your cornea is another thing. The cornea is a very delicate structure. LASIK surgery is irreversible and there is no repairing the scars or damage done. A scar on your body does not affect every aspect of your life like problems with your vision does. I know one person who had bad scarring after LASIK and therefore cannot ever wear contacts again. His only option now to correct his poor vision is glasses and even that will not make his vision as sharp as it was with corrective lenses before surgery. It may not be a big deal to those who could not wear contacts before surgery, but for those of you considering LASIK because hate wearing glasses, you may be forced into wearing them if your vision ever changes in the future after surgery.

    September 29, 2010 at 6:06 am |
  106. Cheryl

    Without glasses I was legally bllnd. I had Lasik when it was experimental in the mid 90s by a very reputable doctor. I had nearly perfect vision for 10 years. After that there was a gradual decline to approximately 1/2 as bad as it was pre-lasik. I have been advisd that I can have an addition procedure to correct it again. But I have opted for soft contacts instead – which weren't an option for me before.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  107. Marlene

    I had LASIK eight years ago and have never experienced a problem. It has been fantastic not needing my contacts or eyeglasses. It was one of the best decisions I made to have LASIK.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  108. Kathleen

    Best money I ever spent.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  109. Lacy Baird

    Obviously IF your Lasik didn't work / you had a problem, you didn't go to Dr. Stephen Slade!! Eyes are not something to mess around with, so do your homework and chose your surgeon wisely. I know I did! It's fantastic and I've loved it for 13 years. Dr. Slade is brilliant!

    Lacy in Houston, TX

    September 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  110. Amy

    LASIK was the worst mistake of my life. I feel so stupid and embarrassed to tell people I had LASIK. What was I thinking? I just bought into the notion that using the best surgeon, new technology and being a good candidate eliminated my risks. My vision is now blurry and changes throughout the day. My eye doc is sending me to a specialist to check for ectasia because of some problems she saw. I just can't believe people actually recommend LASIK to family and friends. Yes, family and friends, you should go cut your corneas with a laser and then thin them down! Sounds like a great idea, right?

    September 29, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  111. mike

    I agree with Dr. Cummings comments.. that the experience of the surgeon and his/her availability for post-procedure care are far more important than which laser / keratome systems s/he uses. Minor complications can become serious events if not handled by a specialist with experience. We only get two eyes, so it's important that we not seek out "cut-rate" pricing for LASIK.. because along with that cheap rate comes "cut-rate" post-procedure care. LASIK does not guarantee that you will see without glasses or contacts although many do. Patient expectations should be geared toward less reliance of corrective lenses, and/or the need for less powerful correction.

    September 29, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  112. Tyrie Jenkins

    I am a LASIK surgeon and like Dr. Stonecipher I have had LASIK surgery myself. I recently performed the surgery on my two daughters and have done procedures on many of my family members. Having been in the business for over 15 years as well, it is important to determine who is a good candidate. Even then, as with any surgery there are always risks of complications. For me and my family, I felt the gain of living a life without contact or glasses was worth the small risk of the surgery. I feel for those patients who have lifetime issues with side-effects from LASIK but I still feel the LASIK surgery is a viable option.

    September 30, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  113. kcheng

    Here is something to ponder–Even bunion surgeries in the same surgical hand can have different outcomes and complications–one also forget patient factors and what unique medical history each patient brings. That doesnt mean one should not do bunion surgeries. Now as far as eyes are concern–yes by nature it is a different–they are your eyes–STILL- –wonderful procedure and i have enjoyed great success with it!!!!!

    October 2, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  114. kcheng

    As far as wearing glasses is concerned–if you have to wear one after age 40–dues to presbyopia–that does not count as a fault (even after having lasik surgery). this is something that occurs with the changes in your eyes after a certain age.

    October 2, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  115. bchan

    I feel the industry has a lot of greed and I am glad I have chosen not to undergo the surgery. I was considering lasik a few years ago and so went to interview 3-4 doctors. All but one said I was a PERFECT candidate (and offering a special discount that week if I signed up immediately). So what did the last doctor said? The size of my pupil was too large and therefore he would not recommend lasik due to anticipated problems of seeing halos at night. How was I a perfect candidate to the other doctors? Shouldn't size of pupil be an objective measure to evaluate candidates so every doctor would reach a same answer? Thank you Dr. Honest!

    October 3, 2010 at 11:19 am |