TLC Insider Tells Us What He Really Thinks About the LASIK Industry
When a company as large as TLC has over 12,000 affiliated doctors, it is only a matter of time before one of the doctors "blows the whistle" or "spills the beans". When Dr. Gemoules "spilled the beans", he didn't only indict TLC, but he indicted the entire lasik industry.
Dr. Gemoules first came to my attention after he criticized me several times on the Surgical Eyes web site. Although Dr. Gemoules often took a pro-consumer stand in lasik issues, he was clearly upset that I chose to publicly talk about my negative experiences at TLC. I eventually discovered why Dr. Gemoules was so upset. It was because Dr. Gemoules was on the board of advisors for TLC in Arlington, Texas -- one of the centers where I received TLC's lasik "services".
Dr. Greg Gemoules had been writing articles on the Surgical Eyes web site for several years under the pseudonym of "Leukoma". I revealed "Leukoma's" affiliation with TLC to TLC's investors in October 2001, after learning of his identity in September, 2001. Dr. Gemoules subsequently started a web site at www.leukoma.com in December 2001. When Dr. Gemoules writes articles under his "real name" he claims to be pro-TLC. Yet, when he writes under the pseudonym of "Leukoma", he has proven himself to be a pro-consumer advocate. Here are some selections of his writings:
Dr. Greg Gemoules
only did I co-manage patients with TLC Arlington, I was also on their
optometric advisory board. Therefore, I can speak with authority when I
say that both the staff and the center were a
class act in every
"100% of those I have referred to the
local center have been satisfied with the services of TLC. If not, none
has told me."
I believe that TLC Arlington really had a good
operation as indicated by the outcomes of the patients I sent them.
Editor's note: Here is an e-mail sent from a former TLC patient who dispute's Dr. Gemoule's assessment of TLC's Arlington Center.
day, information from the ‘inside’ will be information from the ‘outside,’
since LASIK will soon be a discredited procedure."
June 23, 2001
"Why do you think so little of your
vision that you would risk it on a surgical procedure like LASIK? Have you
tried safer alternatives? Treating post-LASIK patients is one of my
"Would anybody like to donate the above
items to the ‘Dr. Leukoma Research For Victims Of Unscrupulous
Refractive Surgery Fund’? Perhaps we can get Jerry Lewis
"Yesterday, one of my new contact lens
patients asked me the inevitable 'what do I think about LASIK' question.
My standard reply is that I wouldn't have it done on my eyes. He chuckled
as he told me about several of his golf buddies who had LASIK, and COULD
NOT SEE THE BALL. Yet, they all waxed enthusiastically about the
"I certainly do not regard going to
contact lenses as going backwards. In fact, I regard contact lenses as the
"sensible" option, considering the full frontal assault of
refractive surgery and its effects on the eye. Unfortunately, this
kaleidoscope perspective is responsible for putting an entire generation
of eyes at risk, and for changing the meaning of ‘best corrected visual
"It is true that the industry has
cleverly avoided alienating optometry, and optometrists by and large are
not overlooking the opportunity to profit from the refractive surgery plum
which has been dangled in front of their noses. Unfortunately,
economic realities can often warp one's judgement."
"Refractive surgery can never cross the
final hurdle of being accepted by the masses because it really doesn't
address the cause of myopia, is still too risky, and cannot produce high
quality results consistently. Eventually most consumers will find this
"As you know, one of my favorite
aphorisms is that LASIK is like a destructive test for eyeballs."
"I suspect that the refractive surgery
industry will implode like the dot coms, and soon. There is just too much
technology chasing too few patients. Moreover, it isn't reliable. It
reminds me of the hype over internet video. Who wants to spend a wad of
cash watching a small jerky picture of inferior quality on their PC when
they can just flip on the TV?"
"During the late 1980's and early 1990's,
a group of surgeons across the country participated in a study called the
"Prospective Evaluation of Radial Keratotomy," or PERK study.
They were trying to gather meaningful data on the outcomes of a single
technique of performing RK. To the credit of the study, the results were
very predictive of the problems which have now come to be associated with
this dinosaur procedure. The refractive surgeons, however, have somehow
avoided repeating this type of study with LASIK. Instead they continue to
point to statistics generated during the PRK clinical trials for each
individual laser, or to the few published studies by individual surgeons.
This environment is conducive to the unsubstantiated claims by surgeons of
their individual prowess. At least I can point to definitive population
studies to back up my claims of the superior safety profile of contact
lenses over LASIK"
"I am struck by the fact that in some
cases central vision has been relatively spared. Why are these cases then
different than any other post-LASIK cases, even those with disturbed
central vision but w/o fusion problems? The obvious conclusion is that
there is a pre-existing condition, held together by a complex coping
system, a system now toppled by refractive surgery."