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

"Leukoma"

"not 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 way."
October 19, 2001

"100% of those I have referred to the local center have been satisfied with the services of TLC. If not, none has told me."
October 19, 2001

I believe that TLC Arlington really had a good operation as indicated by the outcomes of the patients I sent them.
November 23, 2003

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.

 

"Some 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 specialties."
September 16, 2001

"Because most OD's see the handwriting on the wall with the contact lens business, they are flocking to refractive surgery in droves, just like ophthalmologists."  ... "OD's are increasingly in employed positions, either with an optical chain, or a surgery center. As we all know, 'he who pays the piper calls the tune.’"
September 11, 2001

"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 interested."
September 9, 2001

"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 procedure."
September 8, 2001

"Look outside of the box, and you will see that you are trapped inside the refractive surgeons' universe, where the solution to a failed surgery is often more surgery. None of it was necessary in the first place."
September 17, 2001


"Personally, I would go ahead and make a down-payment on a new car or something else to benefit the economy and forget the LASIK."
October 7, 2001

"It is questionable whether expectations of totally trouble-free contact lens experience after refractive surgery are realistic."
September 22, 2001

"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 acuity’ forever."
October 4, 2001

"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."
August 23, 2001

"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 out."
August 6, 2001

"As you know, one of my favorite aphorisms is that LASIK is like a destructive test for eyeballs."
June 8, 2001

"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?"
August 5, 2001

"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"
November 23, 1999

"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."
November 29, 2001