My Windows to the World Ruined
I am writing my story with the hope that I might help someone else to not jump lightly into lasik surgery, which can cause more complications than doctors let on. My “windows to the world” have been damaged and my doctor doesn’t seem to care. I want to thank all of you who have posted on this site, telling your stories and sharing your souls. Because of you, I’ve learned so much: I’ve read, searched, listened. If it weren’t for your posts, I would still think I’m the only one in his situation. Many thanks to all of you who’ve walked the walk and done their homework before me. And now I start my story….
Before surgery, I was correctible to 20/20 with glasses and had no physical need for surgery. I had monovision, right eye distance, left eye close up. Someone at work had lasik surgery done and was very excited about it. Up to this point I had not heard of any complications with lasik, newspaper and magazine articles all stated positive outcomes, nothing negative. (Talked to people at work and friends that had this done—and only later, after my surgery, was I told about their halos, starbursts, etc.)
Three months prior to surgery, I had a checkup with my ophthalmologist, asked him if I was a good candidate for lasik—the answer was “yes, come in for consultation” and I did. I was told I wouldn’t need any more glasses and was shown a video that portrayed only positive results. I asked the doctor about some concerns I had—19 years ago I had a retina detachment in my right eye but no problems since. I also had plepharitis in both eyes. To all this he said “no problem, it will not interfere with the surgery.” I mentioned my concerns and fears of all the complications listed on the consent form. His response was “don’t worry about it, it’s only a formality—I had it done myself. No one ever went blind from it.” Some of his clinical staff that had had the procedure done also assured me that it was “great”, no complications.
The day of my surgery there were six other people also having lasik surgery in the short time I was there (about an hour) and this pace kept up all day. It struck me very odd, but then I thought the surgeon must be good for so many people to be having this surgery done.
I was given a sedative, twenty minutes later my right eye was done--no pain, no problems, so it seemed. When the speculum was put in my left eye it was very painful, like my eyeball was being squeezed—it also seemed to take forever and got so painful I could hardly tolerate it, but finally it was over.
After the procedure, the surgeon told my husband that he “overshot my left eye a little”, which sounded a bit strange to my husband. I went home and slept for about six to eight hours. Next day my left eye was very painful and very gritty. At the doctor’s office that day, I could not read the charts; everything was blurry. He told me it looked good, flap looked good, and I was his best patient that day—I had not even flinched (actually, I was only a good patient because I have a very high tolerance for pain, now I wish I had screamed out loud).
Day 2, I was getting very nervous—could not focus properly, had a hard time seeing people 4 feet in front of me. Very difficult at work-- when I looked across the room things would run into each other. I was really getting scared—could not sleep at night, called the doctor next day—he wasn’t in, so I saw one of his associates, who gave me Refresh Tears and told me to make an appointment right away with my surgeon—no explanation of what was wrong. When I tried to make the appointment, I was told he was on vacation for a week.
Several days later I was so stressed out I couldn’t concentrate on anything—I called again. I was told to come in that day. (I thought he was on vacation?) My left eye was bulging (it actually was bulging immediately after surgery, but I couldn’t see it!). He said he didn’t know why—I should have my thyroid checked. One of his comments was: “Do you worry this much all the time?” My daughter was with me and she responded, “I would worry too if it was me.”
Could it be possible that I have a thyroid problem? Never had it before! So, I went to have blood tests, and had my thyroid checked—nothing wrong. My surgeon then sent me for an MRI—nothing was found. At this point I know I was in trouble. I was stressing my right eye to compensate for not having good vision in my left. I was worried about my retina (seeing flashing lights) so I went to see a retina specialist who told me my vitreous was very cloudy.
My surgeon then sent me to an ophthalmic plastic orbital surgeon. (My surgeon stated he sent people there before—I wonder why that is!). He in turn also thought it was a thyroid problem. I explained that tests showed I was normal. Still he felt I should have an MCI (without infusion)—they came back normal. He kept insisting I had thyroid problems even after this—it must be so minor it can’t be detected (??!??). He then suggested I have plastic surgery to make my eyelids smaller to stop the bulging (at this point I felt he wanted to do a lobotomy on my eyes! This is insane!!) I asked him how this would correct the bulging in my eye—and he showed me how it would look on a video using pictures of my eyes. I told him I didn’t come for plastic surgery, I came to find out what was wrong with my eye. He was absolutely no help whatsoever and I wondered why I was sent there—when I asked my surgeon why he sent me to see this guy, he wouldn’t answer me. (My thoughts at this time were that this was a cover-up—what a nightmare).
Every doctor I saw asked what medications I took and what physical problems did I have? My response was always that I am very healthy, I don’t take any medications, I am not sick—find something else to blame.
I saw three retina specialists, one cornea specialist, one neuro-ophthalmologist—what I found out so far is: the vitreous is detaching on both eyes, I have neuralgia in my left eye with spasms, dry eyes on both, a lot of “surface stuff” going on (with no explanation of what “surface stuff” is so far). I had none of these symptoms before surgery. After I saw all these specialists, I went and told my eye surgeon that I had a detached vitreous in each eye; he told me he knew that I had this condition before the surgery (??!!??). Needless to say, I was shocked and in disbelief. I asked “You knew I had detached vitreouses and you did surgery anyway, why was I not told about this so I could make an informed decision on whether to go ahead with the surgery?. What else was I not told? Did I not have the right to know how all these risks could possibly affect me?” His response: “neuralgia and vitreous detachment had nothing to do with lasik” (!!??!!).
I had lasik surgery on July 20, 2000. with enhancement October 26, 2000. Not a day goes by that I don’t blame myself for the temporary insanity I must have experienced when I decided to go ahead with the surgery. At all other times I am very cautious about my health, eat right, don’t take medications and I exercise regularly. How could I have done this to myself? I trusted the surgeon to give me the facts, all the facts, and he didn’t, in fact, he lied by omission.
The complications I’m living with today: induced astigmatism in my left eye, starbursts, 1¾ lights, unpredictable fluctuation vision, dry eyes, foreign body sensation, floaters in both eyes (which I only very seldom experienced in my right eye before surgery), eye pain, eyes tiring easily when reading and working on the computer, right eye constantly shadowing (I have to turn my head to make the shadows go away). I had none of these symptoms before surgery.
On occasion, I now have pain behind my left eye (feels like a bad toothache); it’s sore and I can feel and see the eye getting bigger—feels as if air is blowing in my eye, like something is loose; I have spasms. At this time vision gets a little blurry. Twice so far, the whole left side of my face was sore to the touch—this lasts for several days and slowly dissipate.
Not exactly the outcome I had in mind. Instead of the carefree vision I expected, I am now stuck with these problems every hour of the day, every day, for the rest of my life. My enjoyment of the things I love to do has been compromised: gardening, watching TV, reading, working on my crafts, driving, enjoying time with my family without thinking about my eyes.
At one time, I believed that doctors (including eye doctors) were there to help people and had their best interest at heart—not anymore. I feel emotionally traumatized and the sleepless nights have been many—for both me and my family. I have a question to these doctors who perform lasik in assembly line fashion? How do they sleep at night knowing that they’ve ruined people’s eyes?
With all the things I found out since, I should have never had this surgery—I was not a good candidate, and my doctor knew it!
[This message was edited by shadet on December 13, 2001 at 11:03 PM.]
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