My journey into LASIK Hell began on 2/9/2010 when I had my first LASIK consultation with Tom Ballard, O.D. at First Eye Care Dallas (Infinity Laser Vision). At this consultation after the screening was completed I was informed by Dr. Ballard that I could have LASIK. I spoke with 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 are no longer an issue with the latest procedures. Dr. Ballard lied to me. Dr. Ballard also assured me that "We understand the science very well". I also asked Dr. Ballard if there were differences between the outcomes if using a laser versus 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.
At this appointment Tom Ballard, OD personally gave me a price quote for Custom LASIK. The use of the word "Custom" on my price quote led me to believe I would be receiving the CustomVue procedure that was supposed to address higher order aberrations and provide better vision outcomes than other LASIK procedures. Dr. Ballard and Dr. Taub decided to perform conventional LASIK without my knowledge or consent! I WOULD NEVER HAVE AGREED TO CONVENTIONALS LASIK, and therefore would not be in the situation I am in today. I consider this a BREACH OF CONTRACT and FRAUD!My pre-op wafefront measurements were also printed on documents with the CustomVue logo. When discussing Dr. Ballard's success rate with him, I was also told statistical data that correlated with data for the CustomVue procedure listed on the First Eye Care Dallas web site. This also led me to believe I would receive the CustomVue procedure. The chart on his web site was titled "Updated CustomVue Results First Eye Care Infinity Laser". However, if you read the fine print on the chart, these were not truly updated results as the title suggested. This data was collected in 2003, and reported in 2004. That's right, 6 year old data at the time I first viewed this chart in February 2010. Also the range of myopia included in this data set was below my degree of required correction. It seems to me that this was not valid data for my degree of correction and did not provide any indication of what kind of results I could expect. This data was also misleading because visual acuity does not do an accurate job of demonstrating vision quality after LASIK. As I have found out first hand you can have 20/20 visual acuity and still have issues such as seeing multiple images, glare, starbursts, halos, etc. I never knew this prior to LASIK. I equated 20/20 vision as being "perfect" vision. In other words, free of halos, starbursts, multiple images, etc. I wonder how many people in this data set have issues with halos, starburst, glare, and multiple images like I do. I was deceived by Dr. Ballard. I was provided misleading information about his success rates. 20/20 vision does NOT indicate a successful outcome!
On 3/23/2010 I had my pre-LASIK appointment at First Eye Care Dallas where additional measurements were taken. At this appointment I signed the informed consent forms and further discussed my additional concerns with Tom Ballard, O.D. 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. I do not recall 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 in this one event was a very important goal for me. Dr. Ballard and Dr. Taub lied to me. It is no longer safe for me to participate in boxing. These two greedy doctors put an immediate end to my participation in this sport. I also spoke to Dr. Ballard about an additional statement he made that the goal of LASIK was to "Reduce your dependence on glasses or contacts" and told him that if there was a real risk that I could still need contact lenses after the procedure that I was not interested.
In my opinion it was unethical for Tom Ballard, O.D. to say I was a candidate to have LASIK, and proceed with allowing Larry Taub, M.D. to perform the surgery due to my participation in boxing. I did not know this prior to having LASIK, but the FDA web site states specifically that a person is probably NOT a good candidate for refractive surgery if they participate in contact sports such as boxing. Now if the FDA states that I was probably NOT a good candidate for the surgery, why couldn't Tom Ballard, O.D. or Larry R. Taub, M.D. be responsible and inform me that I was not a good candidate for the surgery? An ophthalmologist that I was later referred to by Dr. Ballard also told me it was no longer safe for me to participate in boxing. Dr. Ballard and Dr. Taub have taken away a once in a lifetime opportunity from me. I can no longer participate in the sport that made me both healthy and happy. This was one of many unexpected lifestyle changes that occurred.
The informed consent form I received from Tom Ballard, O.D. on 3/23/2010 was insufficient in my opinion. I think this document was designed to protect the optometrist and surgeon more than it was to inform me of the potential risks. I say that because there are variables well known to optometrists and ophthalmologists that increase risks and the probability of an unsatisfactory LASIK outcome that were not listed in the first consent forms or discussed with me prior to the first surgery such as requiring a high degree of correction or having large pupils. Both of these factors were listed in the second consent form I signed 6 months later prior to my LASIK re-treatment. Why didn't they notify me of this prior to the first surgery? Dr. Ballard and Dr. Taub deceived me. The did not inform me, and therefore placed me at elevated risks without my consent. The second consent form has a note stating "Revised 02/2008", indicating they knew this information before I had the first surgery and did not disclose this information to me. Information that had a direct impact on my likelihood of having a successful surgery should have been disclosed to me before I had the first surgery. If this was disclosed to me prior to the first surgery, I would not be in this situation because I would have known two more questions to ask, and one would have led me away from this surgery. I work with optics on a regular basis. I would not have had the surgery because my pupil size of nearly 8mm is larger than the 6.5mm fully corrected optical zone after LASIK. I know from experience with optics that any defects or uncorrected area within the pupil diameter could degrade the quality of my vision. Having large pupils increased the likelihood that I would experience issues with halos, starbursts, glare, or ghosting in dim or dark lighting conditions. The FDA has recognized on their web site that you are likely NOT a good candidate for LASIK if you have large pupils. My pupil size was never mentioned or discussed with me by either Dr. Ballard or Dr. Taub. Again, why was I not informed of this prior to the first surgery?
Another fact well known to optometrists and ophthalmologists that was not clearly stated in the consent was that after LASIK the corneal flap no longer contributes significantly to the mechanical strength of the cornea. The informed consent stated that the eye may be more fragile to trauma from impact and that evidence shows that as with any scar, the corneal incision will not be as strong as the cornea originally was at that site. Another deceptive presentation of the facts. The truth is that the corneal flap will no longer contribute significantly to the mechanical strength of the cornea, and that the remaining cornea thickness below the flap, which could be as thin as 1/2 the overall thickness of the original cornea, is all that will significantly contribute to the strength of the cornea after LASIK. Again, this is another fact that would have sent me running, not only because I participated in boxing, but I would not have felt safe with the procedure. One ophthalmologist that I was referred to post operatively explained that any additional procedures I have could be performed on the flap and that the flap was considered "Free money" because it does not contribute structurally to the cornea after LASIK.
On Friday, 3/26/2010, I had the first LASIK surgery on both eyes performed by Larry R. Taub, M.D. from Newman and Taub Vision. The surgeries were performed at First Eye Care Dallas. While waiting in the lobby of First Eye Care I was able to observe others having the surgery performed. The surgeries were performed in a small room with large glass windows on two sides. Outside of one wall of windows was a viewing area with chairs and a large flat panel monitor that displayed the eye that was being operated on. The fact they were performing the surgeries in plain view of the lobby gave me the impression that there was no real risk involved. I questioned Dr. Ballard about this at a later date and was told they perform the surgeries in view of the lobby so people are aware that they have that capability. Really? Doesn't the name "Infinity Laser Vision" imply that? I think performing the surgeries in front of anyone who happens to be in the lobby minimizes the seriousness of the surgery and reduces the perceived risks involved. Performing the surgeries in view of spectators gives the perceptrion the surgery is safe. This was another dishonest tactic. After being taken to a back room, I was given a Valium before I was given the opportunity to ask the surgeon (Dr Taub) any questions. 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. Prior to the surgery I asked Dr. Taub if this procedure would have any impact on my participation in boxing and he said no. This was another opportunity for someone to be responsible and inform me that I was not a candidate because of my participation in boxing, but instead Dr. Taub went on to explain that a boxing glove was a big, blunt object, and it would not damage my eye after the surgery. This was an outright lie! My wife was also present during this conversation. My wife also made it a point to tell the staff when asked about current medications that I was on hormone replacement therapy (testosterone injections) due to a medical condition to ensure that it would not adversely affect the surgery. At this point we have both told them I use testosterone injections. This medication was never noted in my records. After further talking, Dr. Taub then said something like "Let me take a look to make sure I am comfortable with this", then he looked at my eyes using a slit lamp. I was then given the OK and walked to the room for surgery.
On Saturday, 3/27/2010, I had my 24 hour follow-up appointment at First Eye Care Dallas. I was unable to see clearly and had a difficult time driving to my appointment. I expressed my concerns and that it was difficult to drive to the appointment. They never informed me that my vision was 20/70, which is not legal to drive in the state of Texas, or any state for that matter. I found out later after receiving copies of my records what my visual acuity was at this appointment. They did not indicate to me that there were any issues with my vision or with healing at this appointment. This is another instance where the staff at First Eye Care Dallas was completely irresponsible and placed myself as well as others at an unnecessary risk.
On 4/8/10 I was given a new set of lenses for the glasses I had worn for the 3 weeks prior to the surgery. These helped some with the nearsightedness, but did nothing for the halos, starbursts, and multiple images in each eye. I wore these for approximately a month or so. They were only helpful during a small window of the day as my vision fluctuated greatly throughout the day.