Dr Tom Ballard at First Eye Care Dallas (Infinity Laser Vision) and the surgeon for his facility Dr Larry Taub have lied to me, misled me, and provided me with poor follow up care for my LASIK and LASIK re-treatment surgeries. If Dr Ballard and Dr Taub had provided me with accurate and more complete information regarding LASIK and how the risks related to me with my required level of vision correction, pupil sizes, participation in boxing, and my fear of vision complications including higher order aberrations or the need for contacts or glasses after the surgery I would have NEVER thought anymore about having the surgery and walked away. Instead, based on inaccurate, false, and deceptive information and presentation of the procedure, I chose to proceed with the LASIK procedure and a LASIK re-treatment at Dr Ballard's facility performed by Dr Taub and now suffer from blurred, multiple images in each eye as well as severe night vision issues. The use of glasses, soft contact lenses, and hard contact lenses do not fully correct my vision and eliminate the higher order aberrations. Even with the use of Synergeyes hybrid contact lenses, my vision is not as clear as it was prior to the procedures when I wore soft disposable contact lenses. After multiple surgeries on each eye, the cornea bed thickness is now below 300 microns so I am unable to have any future LASIK surgeries in hope of correcting my vision. The effects of these unnecessary surgeries have left me severely depressed as I am often unable to enjoy the hobbies I did prior to the surgeries.
Below is an abbreviated list of my complaints:
1. Dr Ballard led me to believe I would receive a custom wave front guided LASIK procedure (CustomVue). My wave front scans were also printed on a CustomVue report which further led me to believe this was the procedure I would get. I received a cost estimate from him that reflected this as well. At one point I asked him directly if I had received the CustomVue procedure and he said yes. Instead, without my knowledge or consent, I received a conventional LASIK treatment for myopia and astigmatism. I did not receive the CustomVue (WavePrint) LASIK treatment. I would NOT have accepted the risks or had the surgery if I had know that I was not eligible for CustomVue. I did not realize which procedure I had received until after meeting with an additional optometrist for a second opinion and he had reviewed my records with me.
2. Dr Ballard's records are incomplete and do not give details of the severe vision issues I have had since the first LASIK procedure on 3/26/2010 or after the LASIK re-treatment on 11/19/2010. His records contain very little detail and are missing information regarding my repeated complaints of multiple images, starbursts, halos, blurred vision, and eye pain. I confronted him regarding this one day in his office and asked him to pull my records up on the computer. He would not do so even though the computer was up and was within arms length of him. If you were to look at his records it appears that I was merely under corrected and then by the 6-7 month mark I was 20/20.
3. Dr Ballard provided misleading information. I asked Dr Ballard about his success rate and was given numbers that correspond with a chart on his webpage. This chart is misleading as it lists "First Eye Care Infinity Laser" in the title, yet the small print states that the results were obtained from CustomVue cases performed in 2003 and only included myopia ranges far lower than my prescription.
Dr Ballard also often spoke in terms of 20/20, 20/25, etc during discussion about results. This is very misleading as most people likely equate 20/20 to "perfect" vision, not the ability to simply make out letters on the eye chart with little connection to vision quality. I found quickly that one may test 20/20 on the eye chart, but have a host of serious vision problems such as multiple images, halos, starbursts, etc.
1. Dr Ballard did not provide me with information that would indicate that I was at a higher risk for complications based on my high degree of myopia, large pupil size, and participation in boxing. He also did not provide some very basic and well known information regarding LASIK.
Dr Ballard did not disclose that my higher level of myopia (-7.50 for contacts) placed me at a higher risk of suffering from a detached retina. Knowing this I would NOT have had the surgery.
Dr Ballard did not disclose that my larger pupil size (> 7.5mm diameter) would increase the risk of suffering from higher order aberrations at night. When I confronted Dr Ballard about this after suffering from multiple night vision issues including large starbursts, halos, multiple images in each eye, and blurred vision, he stated that the ablation zone was larger than my pupil so it should not be the issue. I asked if this was just an ablation zone, or the fully corrected optical zone. He confirmed that the fully corrected optical zone was smaller. This is misleading as the ablation zone is not the same as the fully corrected optical zone, which is smaller than my pupil diameter. Knowing this I would NOT have had the surgery.
Neither Dr Ballard or his surgeon Dr Taub indicated that my participation in boxing would be an issue after LASIK. The FDA website states that a person is likely NOT a candidate for LASIK when they participate in contact sports such as boxing. Competing in the Dallas Golden Gloves was a serious goal for me and I would NOT have had the procedure had I known that the LASIK flap does not contribute to the structural integrity of the cornea after the surgery.
Dr Ballard did not disclose that the cornea flap would no longer contribute to the structural integrity of the cornea after having LASIK. Again, disclosing this very important fact would have caused me to decline having the procedure. It is completely unfair that he did not provide this very well known information to me. It is irresponsible and unprofessional to withhold this type of important information from someone looking into an elective surgery.
2. Poor quality follow up care:
Day after the first surgery I informed the doctor I could not see well and was scared driving to the appointment. I was never informed that my vision tested 20/70, which is not legal for driving.
During one visit with Dr Ballard, my wife (Name Removed) asked him if there was anything he could do to help correct my vision as I had become increasingly depressed and withdrawn. Dr Ballard stated "I don't see how this could be so debilitating".
When meeting with Dr Ballard's surgeon (Dr Taub) I was given a large number of samples for the prescription eye drop Azasite, and was told it would take up to 6 months to work. All of the samples had expiration dates two weeks away from when I received the samples.
When I called the surgeon's (Dr Taub) facility and requested an appointment with the surgeon regarding my vision problems, I received a call back from Dr Ballard's office asking why I called the surgeon's office and told me to wait until my next appointment. I was denied my right to meet with my surgeon.
Dr Taub prescribed two eye drops: Alphagan-P and Pilocarpine to reduce my pupil diameter in dark lighting. These drops, especially the Pilocarpine, drastically reduced my vision. I have since found that there are irregularities on the center of my corneas. The drops reduce my optical zone to only the irregular areas, leaving me with non-functional vision.
3. The seriousness of having LASIK and the real risks involved were presented in an inadequate manner which was very deceptive and unfair. First, the surgeries were performed in a room visible from the lobby. There are large windows and a viewing area with a large flat panel monitor where anyone can watch the procedure being performed. This gave the impression that the risks involved with the procedure were very low, for example on par with getting your ear pierced at a jewelry store in the mall. I am extremely distressed a procedure with such serious consequences is performed in front of an audience as if it is no big deal.
I have provided an abbreviated timeline of many events below:
On 2/9/2010 I had my first LASIK consultation with Tom Ballard, O.D. at First Eye Care Dallas (Infinity Laser Vision). At this consultation after all screening was completed I spoke with Dr. Ballard and was told I was a candidate for LASIK. I spoke to Dr. Ballard about my concerns of halos, starbursts, higher order aberrations and other vision complications that I had read about. I asked him specifically if I would have any of these issues and he stated that they would be no worse than what I currently experience at my prescription with contact lenses. I was also told that these no longer an issue with the latest procedures. I did not have any noticeable vision issues prior to having LASIK. I also asked Dr. Ballard if there were differences between the outcomes using a laser or the micro-keratome to cut the cornea flap. He stated that he uses the micro-keratome as it is more economical because an additional laser is not needed and that the results are the same. I have since found that micro-keratomes are more likely to cause striae which are present in my corneas now after the procedures.
I had my pre-LASIK appointment on 3/23/2010. At this appointment I signed the informed consent and further discussed my additional concerns with Dr. Ballard. One of my additional concerns was listed in the consent form and discussed the eyes being more susceptible to injury after LASIK. This was a big concern for me as I was an amateur boxer and was training for the Dallas Golden Gloves as a personal goal of mine.
I do not remember exactly what was said to me by Dr. Ballard but it must have been to the effect that it would be OK to continue boxing after the procedure as I went through with the procedure and would not have otherwise as competing was a very important goal for me. I also expressed this concern to Dr. Larry Taub (Surgeon that performed both the LASIK and LASIK re-treatments at Dr. Ballard's office) prior to the first surgery and was told it would not be an issue. I have also found that the FDA website states you are probably NOT a good candidate if you participate in contact sports and boxing is listed first on the list.
I also spoke to Dr Ballard about a statement that LASIK is to "Reduce your dependence on glasses or contacts" and told him that if there was a real risk that I could still need contacts after the procedure that I was not interested. Again, I do not recall exactly what his response was but I went through with the procedure so I must have been left with little doubt there would be any issues.
3/26/2010 I had the first LASIK surgery on both eyes. Prior to the procedure I asked Dr Taub if this procedure would have any impact on my participation in boxing and he said no. He went on to explain that a boxing glove was a big, blunt object and it would not damage my eye after the surgery.
I was unable to ask the surgeon (Dr Taub) any questions until after I had taken the Valium which is troublesome. The Valium greatly reduced my anxiety about the procedure which may have also led me to backing out once I had a chance to speak further with the surgeon as this is the first time I have had an opportunity to ask the surgeon any questions.
3/27/2010 This was my first follow up appointment. I drove to this appointment as I was told the day of the surgery I would be able to see well enough to drive. At this appointment I told the doctor (Different doctor I had not previously met) that I was unable to see well and was scared driving to my appointment. I later found out that my vision was 20/70 which is not legal to drive. I was never informed of this.
From March 2010 to November 2010 I suffered from severe vision issues including constantly fluctuating vision, blurred vision, halos, starbursts, and multiple images in each eye. During this time, starting a month or two after the first surgery my vision did seem "perfect" for a few minutes each morning. My vision would then decline throughout the day and all of the multiple images, blurriness, halos, and starbursts would increase. Dr Ballard was never able to explain why this would occur.
11/19/2010 I had the LASIK re-treatment performed on both eyes. Again, I did not get an opportunity to speak with the surgeon until after I was given the Valium.
From November 2010 to Present I still suffer from the multiple images in each eye, halos, starbursts, fluctuating vision, and have had a dull ache in my right eye since the re-treatment.
My desired results are that Dr Ballard is restricted from EVER performing future LASIK screenings and from EVER having LASIK procedures performed within his facility. I truly wish his license to practice optometry be permanently revoked. The message should be very clear that optometrists have a duty to provide patients with complete and accurate information regarding these types of elective surgeries. Dr Ballard did not provide me with complete and honest information. Because of this I made a life altering decision that I will pay the price for each and every day for as long as I am alive.
In addition to over 15 appointments with Dr Ballard, I have had multiple appointments with the following optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Dr. Wayne Bowman, M.D. - UT Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas, TX)
Dr. Edward Mendelson, O.D. - UT Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas, TX)
Dr. Clarke Newman, O.D. - Plaza Vision Center (Dallas, TX)
Dr. Michael Bollish, O.D. - North Garland Vision Center (Garland, TX)
Dr. Tyrone McCall, M.D. - Cornea Associates of Texas (Dallas, TX)
Dr. Larry Taub, M.D. - Newman and Taub Vision Center (Dallas, TX)
Dr. Lori Bourque, O.D. - First Eye Care Dallas (Dallas, TX)
Dr. Veurmer Clark, O.D. - First Eye Care Dallas (Dallas, TX)