Iowa patient

"I was sold the biggest bottle of snake oil..."

February 15, 2008

For those who are interested, here is my story. I had my vision destroyed January 6th, 2007, by [redacted] and his accomplices at the [redacted] in downtown Chicago. Prior to the “surgery,” I thought that my vision was poor. Unfortunately, like many here, I now know what poor vision really is like. I have largely remained in denial and mental seclusion for the past year, refusing to post here or elsewhere, afraid to learn more about what really happened to me, and wanting it all just to go away.

Let me make an attempt to describe my pre-LASIK condition. Please feel free to correct me if I misspeak or use the incorrect verbiage. I am now interested in educating myself as much as possible, so that the deception can stop. Best that I can tell, I was an OD -5.50+2.50X113, OS -7.00+1.75X090 before the slice and burn. I don’t exactly know what all of that means, but I do know that I was referred to at one point as a “high myopia, moderately high astigmatism” patient. I have just over 6 mm pupils. My higher order aberrations were measured as under 5% by the VISX CustomVue machine. At the time, my mom and my sister both had vision correction surgery and had been happy with their results. In addition, I never got along well with contact lenses. Originally, I was fitted with rigid gas permeable lenses for my astigmatism. Later on, when toric lenses were developed, I got those. In the end, the results were always the same. I never was able to get comfortable with the lenses. Mostly, my eyes felt dry and itchy. I was sold on the lie that LASIK was some kind of ticket to a new life freedom. I would be able to gain quality of life, have more fun, be a better golfer, go inside on a cold day and not have a pair of lenses fog up, etc. What I wouldn’t give to just go back.

Anyway, I decided to go through with it. I am a natural pessimist, so I struggled mightily with the decision. I knew that there were risks. Of course, I was lied to and told that new technology has “virtually eliminated” the risks. I was sold the biggest bottle of snake oil of all time, and drank it all, because I wanted to believe. I chose [redacted] based on price and convenience, of all things. [Redacted] was supposed to be this great surgeon with impeccable credentials, blah, blah. You can look at his bio here if you care to: [redacted]. I was told that I needed the “custom” procedure due to my prescription.

I could continue to write a book about all of my pre- and during surgery details. In retrospect, there were so many warning signs that day, I had every opportunity to bail out, and I didn’t. Let me cut to the chase. I am now suffering from an all too common list of “complications;” ghost images from both eyes in all lighting conditions, starbursts, halos, dry eyes, and floaters. If I were forced to chose which was the most troublesome, I would say the floaters. I have a desk job, and looking at the computer screen all day is just torture. My higher order aberrations are now over 50% in both eyes, with Coma and Spherrical aberration almost off the chart.

I am here for several reasons; first and foremost, to say “Thank you” to those who have put this forum together, and who contribute to it so faithfully. The resource was there for me to avoid my current situation, and I chose not to use it. Secondly, I want to continue to educate myself on my current condition, and get input from you folks on what my options are, if any. Thirdly, I would like to stay abreast of any technological advancement that might be in the works to help folks like us. Lastly, I want to contribute in any way that I can.

As I mentioned before, there are a lot of details surrounding my visits before surgery, the day of surgery itself, and what has taken place afterwards. Hopefully, with time, we can discuss these details. Right now, however, I need your help with one issue in particular. I have visited three independent Ophthalmologists since my eyes were destroyed. Each of them has agreed on one very important aspect of my post-surgical condition. They all agree that I DID NOT receive a Custom laser treatment. Again, I was told that I needed to have Custom in order to “achieve my best personal visual result.” I paid for Custom. My understanding, however limited, is that the non-Custom version of LASIK only has an effective treatment zone of 5-6 mm, and that Custom was designed specifically to deal with higher prescription patients with larger pupils. Does an “oversight” like this constitute Medical Malpractice? At the very least, is it Consumer Fraud?