Gen Z patient says he has the eyesight of a 50-year-old after LASIK

@hutchhayden/TikTok Vadim/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘I thought nothing could go wrong’: Gen Z patient says he has the eyesight of a 50-year-old after LASIK

'There’s a reason why eye doctors still wear glasses.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Apr 4, 2024   Updated on Apr 5, 2024, 11:41 am CDT

While commonly thought of as a simple procedure that can mend one’s eyesight, LASIK is a far more controversial surgery that it may initially appear.

Over the years, many of those in and outside of the medical industry have warned potential patients about the possible dangers of the surgery. Multiple people who have received the surgery report daily eye pain and dryness, with some claiming that their vision is now worse than it was before the surgery.

As noted by The Guardian, one FDA advisor who initially voted to approve LASIK, a man named Dr. Morris Waxler, is now largely against the procedure.

“According to [Waxler’s] own analysis of industry data, the complication rate of Lasik falls between 10% and 30%,” writes Alaina Demopoulos. “One investigation of an FDA database by the reporter Jace Larson found more than 700 complaints of severe pain, described as ‘worse than childbirth’ or as if ‘their eyeballs would stick to their eyelids almost every night.’”

The article further notes cases of people taking their own lives after complications owing to LASIK.

Now, a user on TikTok has added to that discussion by sharing their own LASIK experience. According to them, getting the procedure left them with the eyesight of a 50-year-old, even though they are only 22.

In a video with over 412,000 views, TikTok user Hayden (@hutchhayden) says that, after getting the surgery, he has experienced “chronic pain, dry eyes, floaters, horrible night vision and a bunch of other stuff that I should not have to be dealing with.”

“Had I known that any of this was gonna happen, I would not have gotten the surgery,” he states.

He further details that he went to a reputable surgeon and that, before the surgery, his eyes “had no issues before except that I needed glasses and contacts to see.” In the clip, he explains, “My daily life consists of eye drop, after eye drop, after eye drop, after eye drop.”

“Every single day I wake up, my eyes hurt. I go to bed, my eyes hurt,” he says. “The only time I ever really get 100% relief is when I’m sleeping.”

Hayden goes on to share some of the facts listed above before cautioning viewers against getting the surgery.

“If doctors did their job to do no harm, and were actually looking out for the patient and not themselves, to fill their pockets—then this type of unnecessary elective surgery wouldn’t be happening,” he declares.

@hutchhayden #stitch with @totalsophmove I literally have a binder full of reasons why not to get this procedure. #lasereyesurgery #lasik #donoharm #chronicillness #chronicpain ♬ original sound – Hayden

In the comments section, users shared their own thoughts on LASIK.

“Someone once told me there’s a reason why eye doctors still wear glasses and it really made me think,” wrote a user.

“I watched my ex SUFFER with dry eyes after lasik. And the only thing that helped was extremely expensive,” offered another.

“I work in ophthalmology and I don’t feel comfortable working for doctors who do LASIK because of all this,” said a third.

The Daily Dot reached out to Hayden via Instagram direct message.

Update 11:40am CT, Apr. 5, 2024:

In an Instagram direct message exchange with the Daily Dot, Hayden says it’s been 11 months since his LASIK procedure. He still suffers from daily pain, despite being initially told to simply “wait it out and let [his] eyes heal.”

“I have had to self-advocate to get all of the custom-made eyedrops and meds and supplements I’ve needed to heal what LASIK harmed,” he explains. “I’ve tried everything and still no relief. Fish oil, pain meds, scleral lenses, ProKera, AST, PRP, and now Oxervate. LASIK causes more damage than eye docs admit.”

Paying for all these things, he says, comes at a hefty price—one that insurance typically does not cover.

“Insurance rarely covers any of this,” he states. “They have helped cover ProKera, but that’s about it. I spend hundreds every month on eye supplements, drops, etc.”

As far as his specific procedure is concerned, he says he was “in pristine health” prior to the surgery and was told that it was “performed correctly.” He has since contacted his surgeon via certified letter about his issues but has received no response.

“I wanna make sure that people understand the inherent harm caused by undergoing refractive surgery. Refractive surgeons should be ashamed. I was the ‘ideal’ candidate and my surgeon performed it correctly,” he shares. “They are willing to risk quality of life and eyesight for money. It’s awful.”

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*First Published: Apr 4, 2024, 12:00 pm CDT