LASIK and Suicide Risk
Recently, there has been tragic news of a Detroit meteorologist who took her life after having laser vision correction surgery. This has begun a conversation about the procedure, its safety, complications, and the necessity of monitoring these cases. At Utah Eye Associates, a leading provider of LASIK surgery in Provo, we are deeply saddened by Jessica Starr’s death and are concerned for all of our patients, their results, and safety.
As with any other medical procedure, vision correction surgery has risk involved. Since LASIK is an elective procedure, there is understandable scrutiny when a story like this is reported.
It is important to know that Jessica Starr’s procedure actually wasn’t LASIK. She underwent the SMILE procedure, which is similar, but not the same as LASIK procedures that we perform at our office. This has been misreported by the press in their rush to spread the world, and, presumably save others from having similar results.
The side effects that were reported by Mrs. Starr from her surgery were via social media, and about one month prior to her suicide. She reported dry eyes and continued blurred vision. These side effects can happen with any corrective eye surgery, and usually diminish in time. An important note is that if you have dry eyes before the operation, you are very likely to have them post-op as well.
To our knowledge, there was no direct connection that she mentioned about her surgery’s outcome as an absolute factor in the heartbreaking decision to take her life. This is a very private matter, and one filled with much despair. Whether she committed suicide due to her eye surgery or not, her decision is a tragic one, and one that we grieve.
It is critical for all patients to be fully transparent with their surgeons about any and all eye problems that they have ever experienced so that their “fit” with vision correction surgery can be appropriately determined. In our dry climate, there are many people who stop wearing contact lenses due to them being uncomfortable. It is very important to determine the cause for this dryness.
We invite anyone considering LASIK at our Provo location to come in and visit with us so that we can adequately advise you about your options for vision correction.
Our office sends the deepest condolences to Jessica Starr’s family, friends, and colleagues; she will certainly be missed.