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  • Decorative Contact Lenses – Not a Good Choice for Halloween
    October 24 2012

    The Halloween season is here and many people are tempted to add decorative contact lenses to put the finishing touches to their costumes for a cool or spooky look.  If you purchase these lenses without a prescription or the involvement of an eye care professional, you can risk serious eye damage.

    Most decorative lenses are readily available from street vendors, in novelty shops, or from costume or Halloween shops.  Some people are tempted to purchase these lenses as they are usually inexpensive and add a “fun” look to a costume.  These lenses should be avoided as they can cause serious infections, which can lead to decreased vision or even blindness. 

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with a variety of eye care professionals are warning consumers about the use of decorative lenses.  They warn that serious eye disorders and infections can occur when wearing lenses without the benefit of being fitted professionally with an eye examination and prescription.  The FDA states that although it’s illegal to sell decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription, they can be bought easily on the internet and in retail shops. The FDA warns:

    • They are not cosmetics or over-the-counter merchandise. They are medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Places that advertise them as cosmetics or sell them without a prescription are breaking the law.
    • They are not “one size fits all.” An eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) must measure each eye to properly fit the lenses and evaluate how your eye responds to contact lens wear. A poor fit can cause serious eye damage, including
    o scratches on the cornea (the clear dome of tissue over the iris - the part of the eye that gives you your eye color)
    o corneal infection (an ulcer on the cornea)
    o conjunctivitis (pink eye)
    o decreased vision
    o blindness
    • Places that sell decorative lenses without a prescription may give you few or no instructions on how to clean and care for your lenses.

    Where Not to Buy Contact Lenses

    The FDA is aware that many places illegally sell decorative contact lenses to consumers without valid prescriptions for as little as $20.

    You should never buy lenses from:
    • street vendors
    • salons or beauty supply stores
    • boutiques
    • flea markets
    • novelty stores
    • Halloween stores
    • record or video stores
    • convenience stores
    • beach shops
    • Internet (unless the site requires a prescription

    Infection or loss of vision is a high price to pay for a Halloween costume.  If you want to purchase the lenses for your costume, make sure to see an eye professional for an examination and prescription.

  • What is Lasik Surgery
    March 28 2011

    LASIK, a form of refractive surgery that has been around since the mid-90s, stands for laser in-situ keratomileusis, which means using a laser underneath a corneal flap (in situ) to reshape the cornea.  While statistically, LASIK is a safe procedure, sometimes there are adverse consequences.  Since the end of 1999, I have represented over one hundred individuals who have been harmed by LASIK surgery. 

    Before considering whether LASIK (or any other refractive surgery) is right for you, do some research.  On-line, the Food and Drug Administration has a complete section on LASIK.  Other sites, such as Medicinenet.com have good, relevant information.

    In addition to doing on-line research, you should absolutely discuss with your eye doctor whether LASIK surgery is a good option for you.  I’ve devised a list of questions you should consider before undergoing this procedure.  The FDA site lists many of the risks you face while undergoing LASIK surgery and publishes its own Surgery Checklist

    While it is likely most LASIK surgeries will be successful, oftentimes there is a bad outcome.  Frequently, this is only a temporary setback, and your doctor can alleviate the problem. 

    On the otherhand, some situations are cannot be fixed, and were caused by medical negligence.  All of my Lasik clients who were injured suffered some form of permanent injury . In cases where there is a permanent problem, you should consult with an experience lawyer to determine your legal rights. 

  • Informed Consent in Lasik Surgery
    November 08 2010

    Our experience has been that nearly every patient is told they are a great candidate even when they are not. The patients who are most attracted to the procedure —that is those with the worst eyesight are likely to be the worst candidates for refractive surgery. These patients are nevertheless told they are “ideal” or “perfect “candidates. The American Academy of Ophthamology (“AAO”) – the national organization that governs the conduct of eyes doctors -  policy provides helpful guidance:. The AAO guidelines state it is incumbent upon the physician to assume the role of patient advocate by assuring the appropriateness, effectiveness, and reliability of the proposed procedures, and sharing this information with the patient.

    Unlike other medical malpractice cases involving informed consent, refractive surgery cases are, arguably, much different. The Lasik industry has engaged in extensive marketing campaigns to sell the product. It is vitally important to uncover all of the various advertising and promotional materials used by the surgeon and relied on by the patient. In one of my first Lasik cases, the client was shown, and relied upon, a statistic that touted “100 percent” chance of achieving 20/40 vision. That client now needs a corneal transplant.

    The advertising campaign and marketing of a Lasik surgeon should be carefully examined if the surgeon’s informed consent form is to be overcome. Most of the refractive surgery consent forms are multi-paged and quite extensive, listing all of the known complications, including blindness. As part of the informed consent process, and usually just before the patient is asked to sign the consent form, many Lasik surgeons show a videotape that greatly minimizes any risk, and greatly highlights the procedure. Some surgeons hold “seminars” that are akin to spiritual revivals where the “miracle” of refractive surgery is performed by the surgeon in front of an audience. In one of our cases, the surgeon held a group informed consent discussion with five patients shortly before performing surgery on them.

    While most of the focus is on the benefits of the procedure, frequently very little explanation is given of the risks. When the risks are explained, it commonly occurs on the day of surgery and, in several cases, when the patient is under the influence of a sedative given to relieve the anxiety of the surgery.

    Prior to any surgery, it is important to review the informed consent form away from the surgeon’s office and not sign it the day of surgery.  It is also important to make notes of any risks the surgeon tells you about your particular case on the form and have the surgeon initial and sign the form.

    If you have had a less than ideal outcome from refractive surgery and suspect you were not told all of the risks involved, please contact our office for an appointment to discuss your case.

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Gregory Zeuthen is dedicated to gathering the facts, protecting your interests and recovering the compensation you deserve. Call today at 503-227-7257 or fill out the form for immediate assistance.