What do you have to lose if YOUR LASIK result goes poorly?

Discussion in 'Laser Eye Surgery' started by doctor_my_eye, May 24, 2005.

  1. Another heart-to-heart from DoctorMyEye.com:

    THE Place To Go When
    Refractive Surgery Goes Wrong!
    Dr. Kenneth Minarik, O.D.

    Requesting your input please...

    Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 1:56 pm

    First, let me say thank you for such an informative website!

    My husband and I are considering LASIK, but are concerned with much of
    the information we've uncovered on the internet.

    Our situation is somewhat unique. My husband is a physician at the
    Cleveland Clinic, and the procedure is provided at no cost to us by the

    hospital. Many, many staff here are taking advantage of this, including

    5 or so in my husband's department and all are very pleased with the

    We've had the introductory appointment which explains the procedure,
    performs the basic tests to see if we're good candidates and we spoke
    at length with the surgeon. His name is Dr. Steven Wilson and he is
    considered to be one of the foremost experts in the field of refractive

    surgery. He has published extensive research in the field, lectures
    frequenty, and has performed over 8,000 procedures. And he has no
    complaints against him with any state medical board!

    Our main concerns were the effects we hear so much about, such as halos

    and other visual distortions. He explained that this is usually due to
    the flap being too small, or wrinkles in the flap, neither of which
    should occur under skilled care and appropriate post-op care. Our
    understanding is that complications do occur, but rarely in the hands
    of a skilled surgeon and appropriate care. Of course, now we wonder...

    My husband is about -6.75 with astigmatism and the doctor recommended
    conventional LASIK with the Intralase laser for the flap. He said that
    re-correction may be needed in about 15% of cases with my husband's

    I'm about -2.75 and the doctor recommended Custom Cornea LASIK using
    the microkeratome for me.

    If anybody is to have LASIK, this seems to be the right way to do it.
    Experienced surgeon, excellent pre and post op care, new technology...
    But, we are still scared! We mainly desire this because we are very
    active and would love to swim/camp/snorkel without worrying about our
    contacts floating away! But, other than the minor inconvenience, we
    don't have any problems wearing contacts.

    So, finally on to our questions! Are most of the complications and
    unhappiness with this procedure because of inexperienced surgeons and
    inappropriate care? Or have many of you had bad experiences with event
    the most highly qualified doctors? Any other advice? We would really
    appreciate your input!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read, and hopefully respond!


    (Dr. Minarik responds)

    Location: Rockford,IL
    Posted: Tue May 24, 2005 1:39 am
    Post subject: You are right to be concerned...

    ...and thanks for the kind words about the website. As you might expect,

    the number of patients that have been disabled by a poor LASIK outcome
    has been dropping from year to year as the procedure improves and the
    lasers and surgeons themselves have become more effective.

    With that being said.....

    There will always be a small number of patients that will have a
    miserable outcome, even in the hands of a skilled surgeon with
    excellent equipment. One of my favorite expressions is to create the
    analogy as follows: Imagine I am a psychologist who spends his entire
    day working with alcoholics. Imagine you and I are old friends, and
    we've agreed to go out to dinner after work, for the first time in

    At dinner, you manage to drink two glasses of wine before the meal
    arrives. Based on my internal conflicts and my daily battles with
    alcoholism, how do you think I would react to you on a "gut" level?

    Let's go back to talking about LASIK...

    My gut reaction in your case is particularly adverse, because I know of

    5 physicians that are now drawing permanent disability income from
    their private disability insurance because of their LASIK outcomes.
    Recently one of those 5 actually took his own life as a result of his
    clinical depression that was triggered by his visual disturbances after

    When a physician suffers a miserable complication that arises from the
    actions of a colleague, the level of betrayal and mistrust that the
    victim feels is even more exaggerated than the betrayal that a
    non-physician feels. I am reminded of an old truism...the cobbler's
    children have no shoes, and physicians make the worst patients.

    The risk of having a infectious corneal ulcer from contact lens wear
    that will permanently distort your vision and cause a loss of two lines

    of acuity or more is about one in 1 in 140,000 cases. The risk of you
    having a post-operative surgical result that permanently distorts your
    vision is about 2 in ONE HUNDRED.

    What do you have to lose? How would living on disability income affect
    your ability to raise your children or practice your profession? How
    inconvenient is that two minutes that it takes you to put on your
    contacts in the morning?

    Post subject: Thank you...four eyes saved!


    Dr. Minarik,

    A mere thank you doesn't seem enough to express our sincere gratitude!
    Your points are very well taken. Though the odds are in are favor, it's

    just not a risk either one of us is willing to assume. After all we've
    learned from this, and many other websites, comfortably wearing
    contacts seems like a blessing, rather than the curse I thought it was!

    And for anyone considering these procedures, we'll certainly direct
    them to your website!

    Kelsey and Nolan
    doctor_my_eye, May 24, 2005
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