Former FDA Official Wants LASIK Crackdown

NEW YORK, Sept. 23 (UPI) — A former U.S. government official who helped get LASIK approved in the 1990s says the vision correction surgery has caused an “epidemic” of vision problems.

Morris Waxler, who worked at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when LASIK was approved, and who is now an independent regulatory consultant, filed a citizens petition urging the FDA to stop what he describes as “the epidemic of permanent vision problems” caused by LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, ABC News reported.

LASIK is a type of surgery for correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism using a laser.

Included in the petition are data that show, Waxler says, LASIK causes “persistent vision problems with an overall success rate of less than 50 percent and a failure rate of more than 50 percent.”

Waxler says once he retired from the FDA in 2000 he got complaints from people who had gotten LASIK that they had side effects such as seeing halos, having impaired night vision and excessive glare.

“When I looked back at that data, there was a tremendous consistency that show these problems exist in about 18 percent of people who had LASIK, most of them after I left the FDA,” Waxler says.

Some eye doctors say while some people may have problems after having LASIK, the vast majority are very happy after the procedure.

“Ninety-nine percent of people who have had LASIK have excellent results,” Dr. Robert Cykiert, a clinical associate professor of ophthalmology at New York University Langone Medical Center, tells ABC.

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