Lasik eye surgery has proven to be very popular, with almost 10 million Americans undergoing the procedure to fix their vision. However, many patients have reported complaints over the years about the procedure. Just this year, the Federal Drug Administration finally completed a trial to calculate the number of people who have experienced negative outcomes—and the results were surprising.
Nearly Half Reported Vision Problems
Although the FDA approved Lasik surgery in the 1990s, a trial of several hundred people has finally offered some hard proof that Lasik surgery carries significant risks. In particular:
- Half of the people whose eyes were healthy before Lasik reported visual aberrations after the procedure.
- A third of people developed dry eyes for the first time after having Lasik surgery.
- Other patients complained about seeing halos or having double vision after surgery.
Some of these visual problems recede with the passage of time. However, others notice a decline in their vision years after having Lasik surgery.
As researchers found, many people who have had Lasik hesitate to go public with their complaints, so the risks of Lasik surgery have been hidden for decades. But now the risks should cause those considering the procedure to think twice.
Informed Consent is Essential
All surgery carries risks, and doctors must counsel patients about the most significant possible complications. To this point in time, those considering Lasik surgery have not received the detailed, robust counseling that would allow them to decide whether to undergo Lasik.
For one thing, Lasik is usually cosmetic—patients simply want to stop wearing glasses or using contacts. Because the Lasik procedure is not curing a life-threatening condition, many patients might not undergo the procedure once they learn of the significant potential side effects.
In addition to the problems mentioned above, Lasik carries other serious side effects. For example, Lasik can mask detection of glaucoma and can lead to corneal ectasia and vision loss. Although serious side effects occur in only around 2% of patients, every patient should understand the risks before agreeing to the procedure.
Florida’s Law on Informed Consent
Florida statute 766.103 is the state’s informed consent statute. According to the law, a doctor or other medical professional must provide patients with:
- A general understanding of the procedure
- Alternative treatments, including not having any treatment at all
- Substantial hazards or risks that are recognized by other professionals in the field and community
If you are not provided with this information, in particular a description of the risks, then you might have a cause of action if you suffer injuries.
Florida’s statute gives doctors a defense, where they can argue that a patient would have still undergone the procedure even had they been given informed consent. However, this defense can be difficult for doctors to establish.
Consult an Experienced Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you have suffered an injury after Lasik surgery, you might be entitled to compensation. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, our Miami medical malpractice attorneys have been representing injured patients for decades. To learn more about whether you have a legal claim, please schedule a free consultation with us or call us at 305-371-2692.
Avoid delay. Florida has strict rules that require patients move quickly to protect their rights.