Is Suicide an Adverse Effect of LASIK Surgery?

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LASIK, SMILE and Cases of Suicide

As far back as 2008, patients who underwent LASIK surgery have reported struggling with vision impairment following their procedure. Similarly, JAMA Opthalmology found that “a substantial percentage of participants reported new visual symptoms after surgery,” which included double vision, glares, halos, and dry eyes.

Studies on LASIK and Suicidal Ideation

Dr. Perry Rosenthal, an ophthalmologist at Harvard University, conducted a study where he found that LASIK patients may also experience a syndrome of corneal neuropathic pain which promotes suicidal ideation.

Informing Patients About the Risks of LASIK

Dr. Cynthia MacKay is a New York City-based ophthalmologist who is opposed to LASIK and has seen dozens of patients coping with the complications of it. “Many were suicidal,” she said. Trained at Harvard and Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. MacKay is now retired from her practice but still continues her LASIK advocacy.

Stories of LASIK and Suicide

For Terri Stovall, much of this rings true. After her painful LASIK surgery in 2017, she had to have an inlay removed in order to gain some of her eyesight back, though her vision hasn’t returned entirely.

Is Every Patient a Candidate for LASIK surgery?

For many affected by the complications of the eye procedure, this seems to be the case. The patients simply shouldn’t have been candidates for the surgery. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and healthcare providers still refrain from stepping forward and warning patients of the procedure’s potential risks. Subtle action has been taken, however, toward improving understanding of the topic.

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S. Nicole Lane

S. Nicole Lane is a freelance journalist based in the Southside of Chicago where she covers women’s health, the LGBTQ voice, arts, and entertainment. Her byline can be found in Playboy, Rewire News, i-D, Broadly and various other corners of the internet. She is also a visual artist who works with small-scale sculptures.

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