Public Health Advisory on CNN Released about Dangers of LASIK

CNN recently featured an interview with former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Chief, Dr. Morris Waxler, who participated in approving LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) surgery in the 1990s. LASIK is a serious procedure that permanently alters the shape of the cornea (the clear outer layer of the front of the eye) using an excimer laser.

In the interview, Dr. Morris emphasizes the potential risks involved with LASIK surgery and stated that the procedure and its dangers have not been sufficiently studied. Dr. Morris also stated that the failure rate of LASIK is over about 50% and that only about 60% of patients who have the surgery are able to see without glasses or contacts. Moreover, Dr. Morris claims that 18% or more patients suffer glare, halo, dry eyes, and other similar problems and that less than 1% have suffered the consequences of having a cornea that is too thin.

Previously, Dr. Waxler has stated that if he knew then what he knew today, he would not have recommended approving LASIK surgery medical devices.

The Food and Drug Administration announced the beginnings of a collaborative study with the National Eye Institute and the Department of Defense in 2009 to evaluate the potential effects on patients’ quality of life from LASIK. The LASIK Quality of Life Collaboration Project is hoping to determine the percentage of patients with substantial quality of life problems after having LASIK surgery and hone in on predictors of these issues. In addition, the FDA issued warning letters to 17 LASIK ambulatory surgical centers after inadequate adverse event reporting systems were discovered at the centers.

Dr. Steven Slade presented the counter-point that LASIK is among the safest surgeries performed.

Please view the video below for more on the interview regarding the dangers of LASIK: