Medical news tonight about face and a warning about a highly popular surgery, lasik eye surgery and it comes from a formal official who once led the drive to approve the procedure so what is the danger he sees.
Elizabeth Leamy brings us the interview and the story.
Lasik surgery promises a chance at twenty-twenty vision.
But a former FDA official says hindsight is what's really twenty-twenty.
(E: Elizabeth, D: Dr. Morris Waxler)
E: Knowing what you’re known now, would you ever recommend lasik to somebody you care about?
D: No. Absolutely not.
Dr. Morris Waxler was a part of the FDA team that green lighted lasik surgery in 1995.
But then he says he started hearing about devastating side effects, so today he asked his former employer to issue strong warnings about lasik.
D: I think people don't understand. This is not like getting your nails done, this is not like getting your curl in your hair.
In lasik, a thin flap of the outer cornea is lifted out of the way, then a laser flattens the inner cornea.
Critics say that compromised cornea can develop microscopic scar tissue and cause vision problems.
E: Here's what I look like to somebody with normal vision. Now, here's the halo effect that many lasik patients see. Starbursts like this are another common side effect. Worst of all, some lasik patients actually experience blurred vision.
According to Waxler's analysis of FDA data, half of lasik patients experience side effects and more than a third continue to need glasses or contacts.
(B: Barbara Berny (lasik patient))
B: My vision fluctuates very frequently and I have to have new glasses constantly.
The industry counters that most lasik side effects are minor or temporary and the complications are much lower with today’s modern lasik.
Nevertheless, the FDA is now reviewing the procedure.
Elizabeth Leamy, ABC News, Washington.