See also the following videos:
LASIK (Laser Assisted In-situ Keratomileusis) and PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) are widely considered to be amongst the safest surgical procedures known today. In many cases, LASIK and PRK are indicated for very high myopes (strongly nearsighted people) and for other therapeutic reasons. As a consequence of the commercialization of the procedures, many millions of people worldwide have had their eyes ‘corrected’ for non-essential reasons. Corneal refractive surgery, however, remains a surgery and there are numerous inherent risks.
Because of the nature of the refractive surgery business (that is, a high-volume high-profit model), it follows that certain misrepresentations and high-pressure sales tactics creep into the process. The long-term consequences of refractive surgery are plain to see each day in eye clinics around the world, and for these patients, the cost-benefit assessment seems to balance more towards regret as time goes on. In the end, public health care is left holding the bag for any long-term negative effects of these surgeries and the sufferers are told ‘it’s your problem’.
The following article discusses some of the concerns relating to mass use of refractive surgery:
From the article:
“The hero here is a man named Morris Waxler, whom I wrote about last year for Salon. Waxler is a Ph.D. and a former branch chief of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health from 1995 to 1999. He was, in effect, the man responsible for approving Lasik vision enhancement lasers in 1997. Since that time, he has become rabidly anti-Lasik, publicly admitting that the FDA “screwed up” when it approved it.”
Also, watch this video of a recent web broadcast (March 24, 2011) with Dr. Waxler. Apologies for the audio quality and the annoying pop up near the end. The content is fairly technical and directed to a professional crowd. It is worth the trouble for any interested party. There is a Q & A at the end, and the first question summarizes the problems of LASIK quite nicely. The entire thing is 80 minutes long.