Frequently Asked Questions Regarding TLC Laser Eye Centers

 

1.

I know that Tiger Woods had LASIK at TLC.  Was he happy with the results of his surgery?

TLC went to extraordinary lengths to make sure that Dr. Mark Whitten provided Tiger with excellent distance vision, as can be seen here.  

TLC Laser Eye Centers

Dr. Whitten also performed LASIK on Tiger Woods' former girlfriend, Kashmira Karanjia, and severely damaged her vision to the point that she was forced to abandon her career as an elementary school teacher.  

Kashmira sued TLC, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette succinctly described the claim as "Whitten doctored her medical records to indicate, falsely, that she was a good candidate for the procedure".  TLC settled the case out of court the day before the trial was scheduled to take place.

You can view a copy of the lawsuit in Adobe Acrobat format, by clicking here.

 

2

TLC claims that "the chance of having a vision-reducing complication has been documented in a number of clinical studies to be less than 1%".  Is TLC's complication rate really that low?
TLC surgeons utilize a laser manufactured by Alcon Summit Autonomous, the LADARVision® System.  In Alcon's Premarket Approval Application Number: P970043/S5 which was filed with the FDA, the following adverse side effects were listed in Table 16: Change in Symptoms Postoperative From Preop, page 19:
  1. Glare - 31.9% worse or significantly worse
  2. Halos - 29.5% worse or significantly worse
  3. Night driving difficulty - 32% worse or significantly worse
  4. Double vision - 6.8% worse or significantly worse

You can view the relevant information in the document (163 KB) in Adobe Acrobat format by clicking here.  Or, you can view the entire document (2 MB) in Adobe Acrobat format, by clicking here.  

 
3. My optometrist recommended that I have LASIK surgery performed at TLC. Can I trust my optometrist's judgement?
Your optometrist most likely receives "referral" fees from TLC.  One of TLC's document which they send to optometrists states that "Referring just 2 patients a month can increase your revenue by over $24,000 yearly!"  It sure sounds like a good deal for your optometrist!  

You can view a copy of document (458 K), by clicking here.  

 
4. Are "referral" fees legal, or is that just a polite word for "kickbacks"?
This subject is examined in the following article titled Coping with refractive comanagement--As many optometrists demand higher fees‚ physicians and legal experts ponder the line between comanagement and kickbacks.
 

5.

I would like to know why Lasik Vision Canada filed a lawsuit against TLC executives, including Elias Vamvakas and Dr. Jeffery Machat.  Also, what was the outcome of that lawsuit? 
The lawsuit alleged that TLC executives intentionally committed acts of defamation against Lasik Vision in order to obtain a competitive advantage in the market place.  The lawsuit stated that "the defendants, and each of them knew the Campaign Materials were false and misleading and that they would ultimately be restrained from circulating these materials but the defendants determined to proceed with the circulation of these materials in spite of that knowledge.  The conduct of the defendants constitutes misleading advertising and so is in violation of s.52 of the Competition Act, R.S. 1985, c. C-34"You can view a copy of the lawsuit in HTML format by clicking here, or in Adobe Acrobat format (523 KB), by clicking here.  

I signed an affidavit on July 27, 2000 as a witness for the plaintiff.  You can view a copy of my affidavit in Adobe Acrobat format, by clicking here

On September 1, 2000, Lasik Vision issued a press release indicating that the case was not going to trial, because TLC had settled the lawsuit.  Lasik Vision is now bankrupt.

 
6. I'm a TLC patient and have complications from laser eye surgery.  I've been referred to Dr. Stephen Slade who is TLC's U.S. medical director.  Is Dr. Slade a good doctor, and can I trust him to provide high quality care?
One patient who sued Dr. Slade for malpractice, stated in her lawsuit that "rather than use the coordinates of Plaintiff, the Defendants used the coordinates and measurements of another patient".  

You can view a copy of the lawsuit in Adobe Acrobat format by clicking here.

 

7.

I heard the radio advertisements in which Dr. Joe Dello Russo recommended that I have LASIK performed at TLC by Dr. Eric Donnenfeld.  I also saw the ABC news program in which Dr. Joe Dello Russo condemned LASIK surgery companies which intentionally perform LASIK on patients who are poor candidates for the procedure.  What is going on here?
Dr. Joe Dello Russo did not endorse TLC in any radio advertisements.  The person who you heard in the radio advertisements was not Dr. Joe Dello Russo, but someone who impersonated Dr. Joe Dello Russo.  As a result, Dr. Joe Dello Russo has filed a lawsuit against TLC for $91 million.  In his lawsuit he accused TLC of "deceptive trade practices and false advertising under Sections 349 and 350 of the New York General Business Law".  He also states that "Defendants' deceptive and false advertising poses a potential danger to public health and safety in that it affects the public's choice of a surgeon."

You can view a copy of the lawsuit in HTML format by clicking here, or in Adobe Acrobat format (903 KB), by clicking here.  

 
8. What do optometrists who are affiliated with TLC have to say about the safety of LASIK?
Dr. Greg Gemoules, who is affiliated with the TLC center in Arlington, states that "The risk of contracting an eye infection from a daily wear contact lens is 1 in 10,000. With extended wear, it is 1 in about 500. Of those, only 13 percent will lose a line or more of vision as a result. This makes contact lenses a factor of 1,000 times safer than LASIK".   

You can view the complete text of his statement in Adobe Acrobat format by clicking here.

 
9. I don't trust TLC's surgeons to fully inform me of the real risk factors for LASIK.  Can you provide me with a scholarly article on the true risk factors of LASIK?
I would recommend the publication titled 10 Common Sense Reasons Why You Should NOT Have Lasik.  

You can view a copy of document (295 K) in Adobe Acrobat format, by clicking here.  

 
10. TLC is now promoting "custom" LASIK.  Is "custom" LASIK better than "regular" LASIK, or is this just a marketing buzzword designed to get me to shell out more money?
If "custom" LASIK really worked as intended, it would in fact give better results than "regular" LASIK.  Unfortunately, "custom" LASIK has a few kinks that need to be worked out, which are described in the publication 34 Challenges To Meet Before Excimer Laser Correction Can Achieve Super Vision

You can view a copy of the document (45 K) in Adobe Acrobat format, by clicking here.