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LASIK, suicide, and depression - a warning

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  • LASIK, suicide, and depression - a warning

    ​​​​​​​I am writing this not to "get attention", but as a warning to anyone thinking about getting LASIK. I have heard so many people say there is no way LASIK complications can make someone suicidal. Well guess what. It can. The complications and permanent eye pain can be intolerable and destroy your life.

    LASIK definitely ruined my life. That is not an exaggeration. It really did. It transformed me from a happy, productive person who could accomplish anything to someone who cannot do much of anything due to ongoing serious dry eye and accompanying pain.

    And lately, I cannot stop crying - it is out of control ugly-crying - this, done with the faucet in the bathroom turned on to max volume to hide the sound of my crying so I do not worry anyone. I have Kleenex boxes strategically placed around the house so if tears start when someone is around, I can grab a tissue, blot them away, put on a bright smile, and escape to the bathroom or an empty bedroom to let it out quietly so no-one has to see it and worry. They cannot do anything to fix this, and I really, really, really do not want to worry them. My goggles hide the red eyes that would betray me.

    I have suffered with a very, very bad case of LASIK dry eye for many years.... I have gone through times where it has been better (for me, better = bad, but less bad than the worst I have ever been) and right now I am in a very bad place with my eyes. I am not proud to admit it, but I was doing research on the most painless, least-likely-to-fail ways of ending it all - I am so exhausted from dealing with this endless battle with my eyes, the stares, the misunderstanding from strangers, certain family members, coworkers, my boss.

    The recent post-LASIK suicides have hit me hard. Mainly because I can completely relate to their suffering, and I envy them for finally being out of their pain. And it makes me so mad when people say their suicides were not from LASIK, but would have happened anyways because no-one commits suicide from LASIK alone. The LASIK industry must love this - paint anyone who kills themselves after LASIK as mentally ill so LASIK will not be blamed for their suffering.

    For many reasons, I will not follow in their footsteps and end my life at this time... there are many reasons for that, which I will not go into here. So my own how-to-end-it-all research is mainly to plan for the future. I will never tell anyone I know that I do this - I do not want to worry them. I have been doing this research on and off for years.

    I found out how much it costs to do the assisted dying route. Strangely, it comforts me to know it is an actual option, although the financial cost is higher than I hoped. I feel like it is so twisted to even look into this. But I cannot help it - I want to know, and I feel more calm knowing there is a basically foolproof way to end it peacefully and without pain. It is not cheap. But since you cannot take your money with you when you are dead.... what does it matter if this final act costs a lot.

    I came across an interesting website that goes over different methods of ending it all and their rates of effectiveness. At first I thought, "What kind of twisted person runs this kind of site? I am glad it is here... I want this information... but what kind of person would have this online?" It turns out it was a suicide survivor who tried and failed, is doing better currently, and appears to have good intentions. Although at first glance it was a how-to site, the purpose appears to be to make it clear why so many people fail to successfully end it all, and confirmed my thoughts on most certain methods of ending it all would not be my choice at all (either too painful, too high a failure rate and risk of survival with complications from the failed attempt, or too gross for those who find you). In other words, what appears initially to be a how-to site turns out to be more of a 100-reasons-not-to-do-it-because-here-is-how-badly-it-can-make-things-worse site.

    Strangely, I felt better after reading that website... mostly because it was clearly written by someone who gets how it feels to be in this state of mind. It made me feel less alone... I do not know why that comforts me.

    I am not sleeping well... I woke up in the middle of the night and cried some more... exhausted. Fell back asleep for a few hours. Then cried some more.

    I am not TRYING to cry, but cannot help it... it keeps coming out. I am in full mental meltdown mode and trying so hard to snap out of it, but have not been successful.

    I have spent so much time doing research on this, trying to find a way to fix my eyes. I have tried everything. Lately, researching it has only depressed me more... there is nothing new, or if there is, it is out of reach for me.

    There is a months-long wait to get in to see a psychiatrist. I do not want meds... just someone to talk to who has no emotional connection to me and therefore will not be stressed out to hear how much I am struggling if I tell the truth about how bad it is. My eye doctor knows how bad my eyes feel, but I do not think my eye doctor's role is to be a counselor, so I do not discuss the mental side of this with them. My hope is that a psychiatrist can help me get better at handling this ongoing problem with my eyes, so it does not throw me into such a depressed state of mind.

    With family and friends I feel the need to be happy around them (even if I am faking it), so they do not worry and look at me with that concerned face... or worse, the "is it REALLY as bad as you are saying?" face (the one people give when they can not wrap their heads around what you are going through, so they think you must be exaggerating or just trying to get attention). Those who are closest to me get a sanitized version of how my eyes are because the truth would make me sound like a crazy person who is making it up. No-one I know can relate to this kind of eye pain and constant discomfort. No-one I know realizes how badly eyes can feel.

    I do not know who will read this, or who would want to. But life sucks right now and I have no idea when it will get better. This is so hard.

    P.S. Please do not worry that I am about to end it all now - I do not have access to an acceptable-to-me way of doing it now or anytime soon. However, unless something changes drastically with my eyes, I am quite certain that I will hasten my death some day. Is it weird to feel such a strong need to confess this to someone? I have never told anyone this, online or offline. I wish the general public knew how terribly your life is affected when LASIK ruins your eyes... but most people do not understand... they have no idea how much we struggle. I share this story because people need to understand how bad LASIK can mess up your life.

  • #2
    As intensely painful as this is to read, I am very, very glad you posted it. You are extremely articulate and everything you have written reinforces my conviction of how important it is to make it possible for people to get their stories out there, and also my instincts about what the suicide publicity is doing. I worry of course that I myself am contributing to the bad effect with the blogging I'm doing but I felt it was a risk I had to take in order to try to open doors for people to speak up.

    You've also given me much, much food for thought about directions our new Dry Eye Foundation will need to explore in order to get better support and resources out there for people.

    This was particularly helpful for me...
    do not want meds... just someone to talk to who has no emotional connection to me and therefore will not be stressed out to hear how much I am struggling if I tell the truth about how bad it is. My eye doctor knows how bad my eyes feel, but I do not think my eye doctor's role is to be a counselor, so I do not discuss the mental side of this with them. My hope is that a psychiatrist can help me get better at handling this ongoing problem with my eyes, so it does not throw me into such a depressed state of mind.
    I think a lot of us need understanding from peers - but it comes at a cost, like the fear that seeing peers who haven't found their way to a better place yet triggers.
    I think a lot of us really need professionals who have the skills to offer strategies - but that too comes at a cost... will they have the experience and insight to understand something like this? etc. Trying out a new therapist is stressful.

    Anyway, thank you again for posting.
    Rebecca Petris
    The Dry Eye Foundation


    • #3
      Rebecca Petris

      We must launch a petition for banning LASIK surgeries. Why are surgeons even doing such surgeries knowingly that they bring inevitable complications?

      We must find a way to raise awareness among the people about the hazards of LASIK surgery. The same goes with the use of contact lenses. Hardly anybody who hasn't suffered from dry eyes know about the long term complications of using contact lenses. Even today I was advised in favor of contact lenses by my optometrist when I went to have my routine eye examination. And doctors keep on advertising LASIK as a miracle procedure.


      • #4
        Thanks for sharing.
        I wonder if you have dry eye (likely so I assume). If so, perhaps fix dry eye first maybe could give you some comfort?

        Solutions for prevention
        Raise awareness is not effective - should enforce a law that
        all doctor must screen MGD since almost 90% dry eye are MGD and it only takes 5 sec. with a thumb. So easy but possible?


        • #5
          Milo007 Re banning lasik: It's not an effort I'm personally going to champion (have to pick my battles) but, google lasik petition and you'll find the ongoing petition as the top search hit.
          MGD1701 This visitor didn't come here to post their treatment history, but to talk about lasik and depression. They sound to me like someone who has been around the block many, many times with treatments and are obviously under medical care. I'm more than a little baffled by your comment "Perhaps fix dry eye first" comment. This DEZ community is living proof that "fixing" dry eye is not that simple.
          Rebecca Petris
          The Dry Eye Foundation



          • #6
            Please contact me if you want to talk, I see youíre a guest, if you want to keep our conversation private, I have no problem doing that. Iím really sorry, the depression is equally as bad as the dry eye, together, theyíre crushing. Please contact me if you need ANYTHING! Do not hesitate to ask...please! If you want to give your eyes a rest, I also understand that as well.

            Iím not pleading with you because Iím afraid you will hurt yourself, you made that clear. I would just love to talk to you, maybe help you feel better. Crying all day long is painful, physically and emotionally. I cry a lot too, even when things are good. I hate that youíre living like this. Again, let me know if I can help in any way.

            I know a few amazing people on this site have helped me a lot recently. Encouraged me when I was down. I would love to do the same.

            MGD1701 if you pay attention to this post, I mean pay real close can see this person has been around the block with dry eyes.