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September 25, 2017

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LASIK pioneer advocates education, caution

By Camaron Kao--LASIK pioneer Ray Tsai (蔡瑞芳) reported at a meeting of the Ophthalmological Society of Taiwan yesterday that there are websites set up by victims warning people of the dangers of LASIK surgery. These websites provide a link to the dangers of LASIK on the U.S. Food and Drug administration's (FDA's) official website. The warning on the FDA's official website states that for some groups of people side effects of LASIK surgery are certain, and a patient should evaluate the risks and the benefits of LASIK surgery by themselves.

The Ophthalmological Society of Taiwan, however, concluded yesterday that the safety of LASIK surgery is beyond question, viewing Tsai's opinion as a statement based on only a few incidents. The society, however, still advised that surgeons convey more information in surgery consent forms and select patients suitable for LASIK surgery carefully.

Lasik complications, a website mentioned by Tsai in the meeting, was set up by victims of side effects of LASIK surgery in the U.S. These victims collect information in an attempt to raise people's awareness of LASIK complications. Tsai's recent statement vowing not to perform LASIK surgery again is on the website. A case of a medical doctor receiving LASIK surgery is also on the website. Despite careful evaluation and the professional medical knowledge of the doctor, the doctor still suffered from LASIK complications and had to undergo a cornea transplant.

LifeAfterLasik.com, another website mentioned by Tsai, was also set up by victims of LASIK complications. On its front page the website provides alarming statistics that one-fifth of people who receive LASIK surgery will suffer from complications. Furthermore, the website says that according to doctors performing cornea transplants, compared with the corneas of people who do not receive LASIK surgery, the corneas of people receiving LASIK surgery are thinner and have a more difficult time healing on their own.

Tsai maintained that contrary to previous studies that argue the wound of the cornea will heal itself without leaving any scar, LASIK surgery will change the nature of the cornea, making it far more difficult for the cornea to heal. Under this condition, patients' eyes become more vulnerable to any impact or inflammation. Damage of this nature is likely to reduce the eyesight of people who receive LASIK surgery.

Tsai said he had patients whose eyes were hit by a child or a dog, or hurt by a piece of paper and then his patients' corneas' previous wounds appeared again, damaging their eyesight. Tsai said that these patients he referred to did not have any eye disease that will cause the loss of their eyesight.

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