Lasik surgery is completed to correct a person’s vision so they can see well or perfectly without the aid of glasses, contacts, or any kind of corrective lens. For people who have lived their whole lives with corrective lenses, Lasik surgery can seem to represent freedom of a sort: freedom to see correctly all the time without the expense and fuss of glasses or contacts.

Lasik surgery is the brand name for the now-common medical practice. The medical term is refractive surgery. A laser is used to make a tiny opening in the eye and then the laser is used to remove some of the eye that is causing the vision problems. Most Lasik surgeries are successful and without side effects, but like any surgical procedure, Lasik surgeries do carry some risk of longer term problems.

Is Lasik Eye Surgery Regulated by Law?

Yes- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laws regulate the sale, distribution, and use of all medical devices including those used during Lasik surgery. However, the FDA does not have absolute authority to regulate a doctor’s practice, even if it involves the use of LASIK equipment. 

For example, the FDA does NOT have the authority to:

  • Set the amount or price that a doctor can charge for Lasik treatments
  • Require doctors to make certain disclosures regarding Lasik eye surgery
  • Compel a doctor to provide an informational booklet to the patient from the manufacturer
  • Create a rating system on any medical device regulated under FDA rules

So while doctors always have a duty to exercise professional care, they also have a fair amount of freedom when it comes to the use and prescription of Lasik procedures. Most claims involving Lasik eye surgeries usually have to do with some form of medical malpractice, such as failure to perform surgery properly by a doctor.

What Are Some of the Health Risks Associated with Lasik Eye Surgery?

Many patients who undergo Lasik report some complications and side effects after the procedure. The most commonly reported complication is a condition of dry eyes, or a “gritty” or “sand-like” feeling when blinking the eyes. The dry eyes condition may be temporary or permanent in many patients.

Other commonly reported Lasik health risks and side effects include: 

  • Vision problems, such as loss of vision or light sensitivity
  • Over or under correction
  • “Halos” or “starbursts” around sources of light during night hours
  • Pain associated with the procedure
  • Hemorrhaging or bleeding
  • Induced eye conditions such as astigmatism

If you are experiencing any of these conditions after Lasik surgery or treatment, you may wish to consult with a doctor to obtain a second opinion. Also, it may be possible to recover damages through a civil lawsuit or medical malpractice claim.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured by Lasik Eye Surgery?

If you believe that you have suffered injuries or losses due to a Lasik eye surgery procedure, you may wish to file a medical malpractice claim. Proving medical malpractice usually involves proof that the doctor breached their duty of medical care, and that their breach was the actual cause of your injuries. 

If you are considering filing a Lasik eye surgery lawsuit, you should:

  • Keep all medical bills, receipts, and documents
  • Create a diary or a log of the entire process, from beginning to end
  • Make a written description of your injuries and any eye conditions that existed before the surgical procedure
  • Consult with another doctor to obtain a second opinion about your eye injury or condition after the Lasik surgery
  • Speak with a lawyer if you need legal advice or representation in court

Lastly, you should always be cautious when signing an agreement with your doctor or health care provider.  Many medical care providers require their patients to sign a consent form or release waiver before undergoing Lasik eye surgery. Be sure to read these documents carefully, as they might limit or restrict your ability to file a lawsuit in connection with the Lasik treatment.

Can I File a Claim?

In order for malpractice to be a valid grounds for a lawsuit, the elements of negligence must be present. The first two elements of negligence are duty of care and breach of duty of care. Doctors and surgeons have a high level of duty of care they must legally show to their patients. If they breach this duty, and the plaintiff can prove injury or harm was the direct result, a medical malpractice suit can be filed.

Many people who report side effects or symptoms after Lasik surgeries report things such as haloes in their eyes, glare, starbursts, and floaties that they didn’t have before the surgery. For some people, the side effects were so persistent or so obtrusive that they interrupted work and daily life activities. Persistent dry eyes is another potential side effect of Lasik surgery. Some people had permanent damage done to their corneas and later had to receive cornea transplants in order to restore their vision.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Lasik Eye Surgery Lawsuit?

Lasik eye surgery lawsuits can sometimes be complex and may require you to work with an expert medical witness. For example, you may need the opinion of an expert to determine the cause and extent of any injuries sustained from Lasik eye surgery. You might also need the expertise of a personal injury lawyer to help you prepare for trial. Although Lasik is a relatively new procedure, experienced lawyers will be familiar with these types of lawsuits.