GP Michael Brouwer wears glasses, but he would prefer to do without, which is why he has his eyes lasered. After his operation he is in so much pain that he doesn’t know how to go on with his life. It feels as if someone is continuously poking in his eyes with a knife. It turns out that Brouwer has developed nerve pain, a rare but debilitating complication, about which he was not forewarned.
Worldwide, millions of people have had their eyes lasered. The most popular method, both in the Netherlands and elsewhere, is LASIK, as it is only a brief procedure after which you can almost immediately work and drive again and don’t suffer from any post-operative pain. In LASIK, a small flap is cut into the cornea, and numerous nerves are cut through in the process. This usually ends well. According to research commissioned by the eye laser industry, 95.4% of patients are satisfied. Information brochures report that possible side effects, such as dry eyes or seeing blinding halos or stripes around sources of light, disappear over time. But internationally there is a large group of patients who claim to suffer terribly from pain and dry eyes after LASIK surgery. ZEMBLA investigates: What are the risks of LASIK eye laser treatment and do patients always receive all the relevant information about these risks?