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    Looking back—and ahead—at LASIK’s potential

    Numbers may be on the decline, but the procedure continues to strengthen

    Take-home message: LASIK has continued to improve over time and will see further refinements thanks to better preop testing and technological advances.

    Reviewed by Eric D. Donnenfeld, MD

    Interest in LASIK has declined for several years—is the procedure worth saving?

    The answer is an unequivocal “yes,” according to Eric D. Donnenfeld, MD.

    The procedure has undergone numerous refinements in efficacy, safety, and patient selection, so it still is a viable option for many patients, said Dr. Donnenfeld, founding partner of Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island and Connecticut, Rockville Centre, NY, and clinical professor of ophthalmology, New York University Medical Center, New York..

    Dr. Donnenfeld reviewed the clinical history of LASIK and discussed myths and misconceptions associated with the procedure.

    The “red-letter day” for LASIK in the United States was Oct. 20, 1995, when the Summit excimer laser was first improved in the FDA, he noted. At that time, one FDA trial showed that 80% of patients achieved 20/20 uncorrected visual acuity (UCVA), and 98% had 20/40 or better UCVA. Several patients—6.8%—lost two more lines of best-corrected visual acuity.

    Despite the initial LASIK fanfare, some complications were associated with it, and that is likely what led to the establishment of LASIK complications websites and foundations that continue today, Dr. Donnenfeld said.

    “Their goals are noble and should be embraced,” he said. “Yet, it’s unfortunate that the activists and ophthalmologists have not gotten together to work constructively to improve outcomes.”

    Some complications

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    • Dr. Nancy Burleson
      Dr.Donnenfeld, Complications are not uncommon. My son, Max Cronin, age 27 years old, an Iraqi War Veteran and college student, committed suicide 1-14-16, as a direct result of complications he experienced from Lasik. He left suicide letters stating this and kept details of his complications. He experienced vision loss, constant eye pain, dry eyes, haze, and loss of quality of life resulting in depression and his suicide. He was unable to work or continue his life goals due to his eye complications. As a medical physician, I can definitely state that Lasik/PRK complications can lead to depression and suicide. For an elective procedure, the risks and long term complications are understated. The industry ignores the catastrophic complications from this elective procedure. The resultant complications and negative quality of life issues increase the risks of depression, attempted suicide, and suicide. Nancy L. Burleson MD FACOG Texas

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