Depression, suicide, and quality of life issues after LASIK

A bad outcome from LASIK may have a devastating effect on quality of life. Some patients suffer depression and have thoughts of suicide as a result of LASIK complications. If you are a patient who is having a hard time coping with LASIK complications, please talk to your primary care physician or a licensed mental health practitioner.

If you had a bad outcome from LASIK and experienced anxiety, depression or thoughts of suicide, please file a MedWatch report with the FDA.

In response to public outcry of widespread problems with LASIK, including reports of suicide and depression related to LASIK complications, the FDA called a special hearing of the Ophthalmic Devices Panel on April 25, 2008. The open public hearing speakers included medical doctors, optometrists, psychologists, and a number of injured LASIK patients. Hear some of the testimony from the hearing:

Edward Boshnick, OD testifies that most of his post-LASIK patients are depressed

Dr. Michael Mullery testifies that LASIK surgery carries a risk of depression and suicide

Gerry Dorrian tells the story of his son, Colin, who committed suicide in 2007

Beth Kotsovolos speaks on behalf of families affected by post-LASIK depression and suicide

Police officer in Tennessee commits suicide in March 2008. Suicide note points to LASIK complications

Research Psychologist Roger D. Davis, PhD talks about depression and suicide after LASIK

Patient David Shell suffers clinical depression after LASIK

April 25, 2008 FDA LASIK hearing: More videos and details

Watch more videos of open public hearing speakers at the FDA hearing: Link

CBS News reports on FDA hearing: Link

LASIK patients complain to panel: by Sabine Vollmer, The News & Observer: Link

FDA Ophthalmic Devices Panel meeting details: Link

Summary minutes of the April 25, 2008 FDA hearing: Link

Slide presentations from FDA hearing: Link

Transcript of FDA hearing: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Some link depression, failed lasik: The News & Observer 2/3/2008

From the article: "A few researchers have already looked at whether changes in vision can affect the mind. Scientists at the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta reviewed suicides among organ donors who had had laser eye surgery. Preliminary results suggested the suicide rate might be four times as high among cornea donors who had had lasik as among cornea donors who had not. But the data were incomplete and the numbers could be significantly skewed, said Dr. Henry Edelhauser, the professor of ophthalmology who oversaw the Emory study. One of the participating eye banks failed to provide vital statistical data."

Link to article

Patient with burning dry eyes after LASIK commits suicide

From the article: On that February day four years ago Robert Pedretti ended his life with a blast from his shotgun... "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."... "I didn't know his eyes were burning to the extent because of Lasik eye surgery or his ears were ringing"... 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.

Link to article

Haverford man found dead at old hospital site - Delaware County Daily Times 7/6/2007

From the article: Dorrian, 28, went missing June 25. His family feared the worst after learning he used his credit card to purchase a gun the day he disappeared... Dorian’s father, Gerry Dorian, believes his son was driven to suicide by complications from LASIK eye surgery he underwent in 2001...While many patients achieve satisfactory outcomes, Dorrian began experiencing debilitating visual aberrations following surgery, such as glare, double-vision or ghosting, blurred vision, halos, and impaired night and low-light vision... Colin left a message on his computer indicating he would kill himself if he couldn’t get his vision corrected, Gerry Dorrian said.

Read more

Depression and loss of quality of life after LASIK reported to the FDA

"It ruined my vision, and gave me permanent eye pain and dryness... It affects my work, my hobbies, every aspect of my life is pain and difficulty... I never knew depression until lasik." Read report

"My vision has progressed to the point where my left eye is legally blind... This surgery has destroyed my life." Read report

"The immediate effect of my lasik and dry eye was severe depression that endured for three years post-surgery... My mental state required me to make several treatment attempts including medication and therapy. I had no prior history of depression." Read report

Hundreds of LASIK injuries have been reported to the FDA: (Type LZS in the Product Code, leave the other fields blank, and change the date range). LINK

Read LASIK patient's desperate post on Internet bulletin board: I've reached the end

Literature review finds ophthalmologists do not focus on quality of life issues: Link to article

Lack of Empathy in Ophthalmology: Link

Depression, Suicide and LASIK complications, by Roger Davis, PhD Link

Blindness, Fear of Sight Loss, and Suicide: Link

Vision and Quality of Life, related studies: Link