PATIENT CARE

FDA: Some LASIK Patients Are Not Properly Warned About Risks

NBC 7 Responds looked at the FDA's guidance for people considering going under the laser

NBC Universal, Inc.

LASIK surgery can be a great option for people who don't want to use contact lenses or glasses. Even though it seems like a common procedure, the FDA is making sure people know it's not for everyone.

"It is a really good option for a lot of patients," said Dr. Bishoy Said, an ophthalmologist at Sharp Rees-Stealy. "That doesn't mean it's a great option for all patients."

Dr. Said said some people are not meant to go under the laser, like people with prescriptions that change from month to month. That's because of how the surgery works.

"You're using a laser machine to shape the cornea," said Dr. Said. "If you're still having changes, it's only going to work for a short amount of time because it's going to change."

Some people we spoke to said they'd considered the procedure, but were not sure if they knew enough.

"There were concerns," said Arthur Endo. "There seems to be misinformation, or not enough information about it."

Endo isn't alone. In a draft guidance letter, the FDA said it hopes to improve doctor-patient communication about the benefits and risks.

It would require new labels on LASIK machines, and proposed a checklist that would be signed by the physician and the patient, acknowledging each point was discussed.

In an email to NBC 7, the FDA said the changes are because it is, "aware some patients may not be receiving information in a format that allows them to make a well-informed decision about LASIK."

"It's still surgery," said Dr. Said. "There are still risks, but most of the time there are no issues and patients are happy."

If you're thinking about getting the procedure, you can learn more about the benefits and risks on the FDA's website here.

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