DURHAM — It is estimated that more than 2 million people will trade in their glasses and contacts lenses for LASIK eye surgery this year.
LASIK, or laser assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a procedure where eye surgeons use precise beams of laser light to reshape the surface of the eye, eliminating or reducing the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
This procedure has become the number one type of outpatient surgery, but as more and more doctors cash in on its popularity, some patients say they are paying the price.
Jackie Land had LASIK surgery in March. It did not go well, and Land says she was nervous from the start. A hole had opened up in the corneal flap.
Odell Hill also had a bad experience.
"I couldn't hold it open, [it was] watering, it was about swelled shut," he says.
They both went to see Dr. Alan Carlson at the Duke Laser Vision Center to fix their problem.
Dr. Carlson says he is seeing more and more patients coming to him with problems from other doctors.
"I think, in many cases, the doctors are very capable in doing the operation, but when things don't go quite right, [the patients] eventually decide they need another opinion or additional help," he says.
"I've had some pretty painful things. But that was one of the most aggravating and painful," says Hill, who came to Dr. Carlson with a severely inflamed eye.
"It was not recognized early enough and it was not treated aggressively enough," says Carlson.
Land says she felt like her surgery was done in a LASIK factory.
"It was kind of like an assembly line, really. They had recliners lined up and you sat down in a recliner," she says.
Dr. Carlson says there are some things to keep in mind when looking for a LASIK surgeon.
Land and Hill say the are pleased with the outcome of their latest surgeries with Dr. Carlson. After all they went through, they both still recommend LASIK surgery.