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Former FDA Adviser Calls for LASIK Surgery to Be Banned

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Former FDA Adviser Calls for LASIK Surgery to Be Banned

2019-11-16 17:29:48

By Chanel Adams,  Image: Wikimedia Commons

A former FDA adviser claims that they want LASIK eye surgery to be banned in the U.S. An ex-Food and Drug Administration adviser who voted to approve LASIK eye surgery nearly two decades ago now believes that the procedure should be banned. Morris Waxler, Ph.D., who helped pioneer the invasive technique, is going back on his support based on the long-term effects of the procedure.

“Essentially we ignored the data on vision distortions that persisted for years,” Dr. Waxler told CBS. “I re-examined the documentation … and I said, ‘Wow this is not good.’”

LASIK stands for laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis. A reported 20 million Americans have undergone the procedure in order to c orrect their vision problems, according to the CBS report. During LASIK eye surgery, an instrument known as a femtosecond or microkeratome laser is used to create a flap in the cornea area. The doctor uses the instrument to reshapen the cornea so it can focus light into the retina area. The cornea flap is then put back into its original place following surgery.

Like any other procedure, some complications can exist. The chance of losing one’s vision is rare. But there are other side effects to be concerned about, such as dry eyes and vision disturbances, two of which are commonly reported among patients. While these side effects are only temporary and last for a few weeks, some patients have reported them as a long-term problem. Many patients who undergo LASIK eye surgery end up with 20/50 vision or better, according to the Mayo Clinic website. And there are patients who’ve had the procedure done who need eyeglasses for driving at night or reading as they get older.

Despite the risks and complications, it’s still a very popular procedure among Americans. For example, Kylie Jenner threw a lavish party following her procedure. Dr. Waxler says he’s done independent studies on LASIK surgery over the years and noticed a “vision complication rate” of up to 30%. He’s also asked the FDA to have the surgery banned and recalled, but they haven’t returned his request.

The FDA has a “significant amount of consumer-focused information available on its official website about the benefits, risks and expected outcomes associated with LASIK. “The FDA continues to monitor the safety of devices after they are marketed, such as by monitoring adverse event re ports and following up on adverse events, including those related to LASIK.”

However, this hasn’t been the first time that Dr. Waxler has spoken out against LASIK surgery. Back in March 2011, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery’s magazine called Eyeworld, published an essay from ACRS president R. Doyle Stulting, MD, PhD, in a response to Dr. Waxler’s claims. Stulting argued that Dr. Waxler’s accusations are “misinformed, unsupported by evidence, and lacking in balance and perspective.”

In the meantime, the FDA has conducted research and revealed that over 95% of its participants who undergone the procedure were happy with their vision. However, Dr. Waxler still wants LASIK surgery to be banned in the U.S. Dr. Waxler says that patients who had the surgery won’t die or suffer from vision problems, so he doesn’t see the point.

“There’s nothing wrong with a person’s eyes who goes to get LASIK,” he said. “They have healthy eyes. They could go and get a pair of glasses.”

It turns out that Dr. Waxler isn’t the only one who wants to do away with the procedure. Other doctors are calling for a LASIK ban. They claim that it can cause one’s vision to worsen and can cause serious side effects such as suicide. A group of eye doctors, including Dr. Waxler himself, are back tracking on supporting this procedure. They agree that the surgery should be banned because they claim it has left thousands of patients with poor vision and has caused over a dozen people to commit suicide.

Of course, there’s always some sort of risk when it comes to surgery. But this certain type of procedure now has people reconsidering getting LASIK surgery. Maybe the FDA could’ve done more to research on the complications and side effects of this procedure. Some patients who have undergone the procedure have reported having nothing but cornea issues, according to a report via Yahoo! Finance. Some people don’t feel comfortable being the one out of a million who experience problems. In addition, the eye changes shape overtime, which can lead to these issues. If you don’t mind wearing glasses, then maybe you should skip LASIK surgery.

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