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Depression and Suicidal Ideation after Lasik

42-year old man Presents to Boston Foundation, Hospitalized for Suicidality because of Eye Pain

Source: Theophanous et al. Corneal Neuralgia after LASIK. Optom Vis Sci. 2015 Jul 3.

Link to Abstract

Excerpt: A 42-year-old man with a history of [high cholesterol] underwent LASIK [in both eyes]. He presented to Boston Foundation for Sight (BFS) 10 months later with a detailed timeline of his own clinical course as follows: Immediately after the procedure, he had a burning sensation in both eyes. Within several weeks, he had noted symptoms of light sensitivity, halo effect, and extreme dry eye. He was initially treated with topical cyclosporine (Restasis, Allergan, Irvine, CA) twice per day, preservative-free lubricating drops throughout the day, and punctal occlusion. These measures substantially reduced his symptoms in the left eye by 2 to 3 months after LASIK; symptoms in the right eye persisted with notation of continued achy, sore pain with tearing that worsened throughout the day, sensitivity to sunlight, blurriness, and dryness. His symptoms in the right eye were subsequently treated with warm compresses twice per day, moisture chamber goggles during the day, ointment thrice per day and nightly, oral cetirizine, trial of bandage soft lenses, and a daytime eye patch, offering limited relief. Doxycycline 100 mg by mouth daily was also prescribed for mild blepharitis. During this treatment period, the patient developed depression and ultimately was hospitalized for suicidal ideation, which he reported was driven by his eye pain.

Suicidal Patient Attempts to Contact Food and Drug Administration

Link to Source

Event Date 07/25/2011

Event Type Injury

Event Description

Caller advised he had lasik surgery at (b)(6) on (b)(6) 2011. Surgeon mentioned potential adverse effects which was supposed to be temporary. "my life has been a complete nightmare after the surgery". Caller fell into a deep depression with suicidal thoughts and is currently on medication for depression and also seeing a therapist. Caller is still experiencing night vision problems which include blurred vision, glare, halos, diplopia in the left eye and distorted vision in the right eye (sees four different images when looking at one image) and dry eyes. Caller advised lasik eye surgery is very dangerous and was never warned about the psychological effect the surgery will have on him.

Patient Reports Suicidality to Food and Drug Administration after Experiencing Extreme Dry Eye

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Patient called to report adverse events after receiving Lasik eye surgery with an Allegro Wavelength laser on [redacted by FDA] 2013, in both eyes. Patient stated prior to the procedure, he had no issues with his eyes. He said around [redacted by FDA] 2013, after the procedure, he started to have extreme, severe dry eye issues that were extremely painful. He also explained that he can't keep his eyes open and that his eyes feel like they are being pulled forward. He is extremely upset with his current condition and said he hasn't been able to work since [redacted by FDA] 2013. Patient said he has seen 3 ophthalmologists and spent $[redacted by FDA] trying to correct the adverse reactions. He said it's difficult for him to function. Patient explained he was told that his condition is chronic and he is worried about his future, he feels disabled. He said he has contemplated suicide and is talking to a therapist. He said his pain is so bad that everyday he lives in torment, and that he may not be around very much longer to see if his condition ever improves. The patient was transferred to local [redacted by FDA] crisis prevention hotline.

Patient tells FDA 'I intend to end my life soon'

Link to Source

I have chronic aqueous deficient dry eye aka neurotrophic keratopathy or refractory dry eye. My eyes do not tear when they are dry or come into contact with irritants and allergens. This is an extremely painful and degenerative condition though I don't think I will be around to see exactly how bad it gets because I intend to end my life soon. My doctor claims that it is not possible for this to be a result of LASIK. However, when pressed he said that up to 40% of LASIK patients have some degree of residual dry eye. He is full of contradictions. It depends what you're asking him and in what context. The answer changes regularly. It took me 6 years to find a doctor that finally told me that this condition is in fact due to LASIK surgery. This is due to a concerted effort by ophthalmologists to cover up for each other. Even though they knew better they sent me on a 6 year quest to find out what I should have been told before the surgery. LASIK causes extreme dry eyes in many people, especially people like me with high risk factors.

Post-Lasik Patient Ends Life at Age 39 due to Burning Eyes

Link to Source

Here's the story of a man who ended his life at 39. "He went for a walk and my brother though it was strange because he usually always took his dog with him but he didn't take his dog with him on this walk. He didn't come back, and my brother, obviously feared the worst," says Roger Pedretti, Robert's older brother. On that February day four years ago Robert Pedretti ended his life with a blast from his shotgun. He became one of a growing number of middle aged men, committing suicide. It came as a shock to his family. "I don't think you can describe how bad that is or how terrible that is." His younger brother spent the majority of his adult life in Colorado, living his passions: Hunting mountain lions, taking care of his dogs, and a world champion at pack burro racing. "I would call him the greatest outdoorsman." But one day nearing his 40's he gave it all up, went to chiropractic school, and after a semester moved home to Wisconsin. "I was around him all the time and despite reading afterwards the degree to which he was suffering he, I think tried as much as he possibly could to look like his normal self. But inside, Robert was dealing with a job change, depression, and health problems. "I didn't know his eyes were burning to the extent because of Lasik eye surgery or his ears were ringing." Therapist, Dr. Joel Rooney says that combination, for a man, at that age can be lethal. "They're also less likely to seek out support," says the therapist. Rooney says, those issues, men deal with differently than women. "They're more likely to repress that they're also more likely to have solution focused personalities, which say if you want something done right, you got to do it right. Which means you're going to use a more lethal means," says Dr. Rooney. Now his family has his memories, and his writings, which have given them insight into his suffering. "He said it was like a cancer, like a terminal illness that you just couldn't get through and the pain was too much to overcome it he couldn't live that way anymore," says his brother. Now, his brother, Roger is living, and celebrating his memory. Every year, he participates in the pack burro race, as a tribute to his brother, Robert Pedretti. Robert was never married and didn't have any children. If you feel depressed or suicidal, here are two numbers that you can call for help. You can call the Great Rivers 24 hour Crisis Line at 2-1-1. Or, you can call the La Crosse County Crisis Line at 784-HELP.

Suicide Reported on Morris Waxler's Online Petition to Stop Lasik

Link to Source: Read comment #629

"My one and only child committed suicide after 1.5 years of struggle with bad Lasik job. He was only 22. His night vision became very poor. Please have FDA pull this off the market at all cost. How many people have to die?"

Suicide Attempted Reported on Morris Waxler's Online Petition to Stop Lasik

Link to Source: Read comment #606

This procedure ruined my life. It left me with severe dry eyes. Corneal erosions. Starburst and halos at night. My night vision is ruined and I have vitreous detachment in both eyes. The non stop pain caused me to attempt suicide at age 32. I lost my job, house car and future. This could of easily been prevented if I was given proper VERBAL warning about 3 conditions that SHOULD of eliminated me from the procedure. I went to The Lasik Vision Institute. Warning to all.

Repeated Suicide Attempts due to Lasik Reported to FDA

Link to Source

I had lasik surgery on (b)(6) 2007. The surgery was performed within 4 hrs. of my initial visit. I have not had clear vision since the day of surgery. My problems include dry eyes, halos, starbursts, no contrast ability, lack of peripheal vision, extreme sensitivity to light, and now bilateral cataracts. I was told at every visit that these complications would resolve over time. Of anything, my symptoms have become worse. I faced an unknown amount of surgeries to remove the cataracts and I am concerned about the instability of my corneas, which have been damaged and will at some point require corneal transplantation. At the time of my surgery, I was earning in excess of (b)(6) per year. Due to my declining visual ability and debilitating depression, I am on (b)(6), wherein I receive a monthly stipend of (b)(6). I have attempted suicide more than 5 times since my lasik.