The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog

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News (not): "New look for LASIK surgery"

I can hardly believe newspapers are still cranking out this kind of thing. Musta been an awfully slow news day in Colorado.

...a 30-year-old outdoor enthusiast in Boulder, long wanted to undergo laser eye surgery so he could ditch the glasses he's worn since the fifth grade.

But it wasn't until recently that laser eye technology became good enough to correct Schaffer's severe astigmatism, a vision problem caused by an irregularly shaped cornea...
During the 10-minute outpatient procedure, Schaffer's surgeon... used a new technology called the IntraLase laser to create a flap in the surface tissue covering each of Schaffer's corneas. Then he used an excimer laser to correct the shape of the corneas, which play a crucial role in reflecting light onto the eyes' retinas.

(Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 2, 2007)

SNORT. New technology? Come on folks. Intralase launched their fourth generation machine in 2006. Femtosecond technology is not new. It's just that it's taken many surgeons till now to amortize their excimers enough to afford one.

But, ahem, forgive my digression from dry eye. Here's what really caught my eye:

Understand the risks: Laser eye surgery provides good results for the vast majority of patients, but complications such as severe dry eye, halos, glare, double vision and vision that worsens at night can occur. The probability of serious long-term complications is less than 0.5 percent.


These sorts of combination statements really bother me because while each individual statement might be defensible or explainable, the overall impression conveyed is false. A normal ignorant consumer would read this and have no way of knowing that "serious long-term complications" does NOT refer to the complications named in the previous sentence - which, according to years of medical studies, clearly have a considerablyl greater than 0.5% rate of occurrence.... My point being that a normal consumer would read this and conclude that they have an 0.5% or less chance of getting severe dry eye.

Sorry, but that's just plain wrong. Read the literature. Heck, read even a standard consent form.
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