LASIK is a medical procedure that uses a laser to correct vision problems such as myopia (shortsightedness), hyperia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. The laser used is an exicmer laser that does not cause thermal burns to cut into the cornea. This type of surgery is known as refractive surgery.
How is LASIK performed?
During LASIK surgery, the patient is awake, if not mildly sedated. Cuts in the cornea are created to reveal the area underneath the cornea, called the stroma. It is here that the cornea remodeling takes place. The corneal flat is then closed and sealed and the eye heals naturally. Once healed, the eyes may revert to their pre-operation state, requiring additional surgery. The higher the initial correction, coupled with other factors such as astigmatism and age determine the likelihood that the initial LASIK surgery will be successful.
There is dispute to the degree that LASIK can correct the most severe eyesight deficiencies. Studies do show however, that infections from contact lenses use are far more likely than infections as a complication from LASIK surgery with the chance of vision loss calculated at 1 in 10,000. This number is subject to dispute as evidence surfaces that some complications were not factors into initial safety reports on the dangers of LASIK surgery.
What complications may occur as a result of LASIK?
Dry eyes are the most common complication from LASIK surgery and the FDA warns that such damage may be permanent. Surgical errors may also affect the outcome of the surgery with the potential for inadequate corrections being a concern. Sensitivity to light is common for all patients but usually dissipates some time after the surgery. Minor hemorrhaging may occur in the eye as a direct result of the surgery and the corneal flap created by the surgery may slip in rare cases, requiring immediate attention.
How do I go about seeking damages for LASIK malpractice?
In some cases, the ophthalmologists may not have taken adequate precautions or screened the patient’s risks factors properly before operating. This increases the likelihood of malpractice and permanent damage. Additionally, some LASIK surgeries may have been performed with lasers that were not yet approved by the FDA. If damages occurred while the ophthalmologist used an unapproved laser, then there is definitely a case for negligence. The statute of limitations generally extends to roughly two years after the condition is discovered, but this varies by jurisdiction.
Generally speaking, failures to screen for preexisting corneal conditions or risk factors are the primary reasons for LASIK litigation. An attorney that specializes in this form of litigation can help you seek damages to cover medical expenses and other damages associated with improper surgery.