Advocates for Injured LASIK Eye Surgery Patients
LASIK is widely advertised as “quick,” “painless,” and “extremely safe.” However, like all surgeries, LASIK surgery is not without risk. When something goes wrong, your vision could decrease or your world could go dark forever.
LASIK is America’s most popular elective surgery. It has grown into a competitive $3.3 billion industry permeated with marketing and hard-selling practices. As a result, one million people undergo LASIK surgery each year. While most of these operations are successful, 50,000 of people experience LASIK complications each year. While most of these complications are minor and resolve themselves with time or a second surgery, sometimes the consequences are lifelong and severe. Many of these complications could be avoided if the surgeon valued the patient’s wellbeing over the patient’s dollars.
The LASIK Procedure
LASIK stands for laser in situ keatomileusis. LASIK surgery utilizes a specialized exciser laser to treat refractive errors, improve vision, and reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. Once complete, a successful surgery allows the cornea to refract light at the proper angles for proper vision.
In surgery, an exciser laser is used to slice a flap on the cornea’s outside protective layer which is called the epithelium. Depending on the correction needed, the laser then flattens or steepens the curvature of the cornea. Next, the surgeon replaces the epithelium flap. After a few minutes of drying, the flap rebonds with the underlying cornea. Depending on type of LASIK selected and the extent of correction required, surgery may take between 10-30 minutes per eye. It can take up to six months for the cornea flap to heal.
The Quest for Profits Compromises Patient Safety
LASIK malpractice is becoming increasingly common. Due to increasing competitive pressures and potential riches, many eye surgeons have turned to high pressure sales tactics and accept unsuitable candidates for surgery. These surgeons promote a procedure in which a laser which literally slices the patient’s eye like it is candy.
Although this makes sense from a financial standpoint, it can compromise patient safety. A 10-30 minute surgery on one eye can easily cost anywhere from $1,500-$4,500. Because of this, some eye doctors schedule LASIK surgeries every half hour in order to maximize their profits. These numbers quickly add up to a financial goldmine. Due to the lucrative nature of this business, price wars and online couponing have spread to win as many patients as possible. These price wars and the quest for profits have a cost of reduced patient safety.
Risks of LASIK Surgery
Despite marketing to the contrary, LASIK surgery has serious risks. While many of these complications are resolved through either the healing process or a second surgery, some complications are permanent. Potential consequences include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Vision overcorrection or undercorrection.
- Slow healing
- Impermanent Results
- Corneal Flaps Loosening
- Incomplete Results Necessitating a Second Surgery
- Bilateral astigmatism
- Dry eye
- Irreparable vision loss
- Reduced Night Vision
- Weakening of the Cornea
- Visual aberrations such as double vision, hazy vision, glare, seeing different image size between two eyes, fluctuating vision strength, and seeing halos around lights. These symptoms are most prevalent in low light.
Risk Factors for a Botched LASIK Procedure
LASIK surgery is not for everyone. Your eye doctor should conduct a detailed diagnostic eye exam to determine if you are a suitable candidate. High risk candidates are far more likely to encounter the above-listed complications. If you exhibit any of the following, your eyes might not be suitable for LASIK.
- Thin or irregular pupils
- Large Pupils (some pupils are too large for LASIK lasers to operate)
- Unstable vision (vision prescription has changed substantially in the past year)
- Health conditions that may influence postoperative healing
- Dry Eyes
- Your Age (under 18 or elderly)
- Hazardous recreational activities, such as boxing, martial arts, or wrestling, increase the risk of LASIK flap dislocation
- Certain degenerative or autoimmune disorders
- The amount of correction needed (a larger correction requires a larger amount of cornea tissue to be removed)
Some doctors utilize a formula to consider these and other similar factors to determine whether or not a patient is a suitable candidate for LASIK.
Types of LASIK Malpractice
The lucrative nature of LASIK surgery creates an incentive for doctors to accept unsuitable high-risk candidates. These surgeons attempt to avoid malpractice claims by telling you that your complications are known risks. While this may be true, it does not relieve the doctor of responsibility to operate safely. Knowingly conducting an optional procedure on a high-risk patient may constitute medical malpractice. If you have were an at-risk patient who suffered complications, you may have a claim for money damages.
Regardless of whether you were a suitable or unsuitable candidate, LASIK malpractice may also occur in several other instances including, but not limited to, the following:
- Any of the previously listed complications
- Cutting multiple corneal flaps
- Cutting incomplete corneal flaps
- Failure to sterilize equipment
- Failure to properly program equipment
- Performing surgery on the incorrect portion of the eye
- Equipment malfunction [hyperlink to device error page]
- Cutting important nerve (such as optic nerves)
- Lack of informed consent (such as if you were not told of the risks of the procedure)
Our firm will review your medical records, examine the timeline of treatment, and decipher all of the complex medical issues in your case. We will determine if you received a proper eye exam before surgery, if you were an unsuitable candidate for LASIK, or if your doctor made an unreasonable mistake during surgery. We use our knowledge and experience to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Contact our LASIK Malpractice Attorneys Today
If your believe your eye surgeon made a mistake, did not tell you the risks, or operated despite red flags which indicated high risk, you may have a claim for money damages. Law limits the time you have to bring a claim, so you should conduct a LASIK Eye Surgery Malpractice Attorney as soon as possible. Contact Ray Gupta & Associates to schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer. We help people and families in Illinois, Indiana, and across the nation. Cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. You pay no fees unless we recover for you.