A former Food and Drug Administration official who helped get the vision correction surgery LASIK approved in the 1990s, but later spoke out against the procedure, is taking his concerns directly to the FDA. Morris Waxler, who is now an independent regulatory consultant, filed a citizens petition Wednesday urging the agency to take steps to stop what he calls "the epidemic of permanent vision problems" caused by LASIK. In the petition, Waxler included data he said is evidence that "LASIK causes persistent vision problems with an overall success rate of less than 50 percent." Waxler said his change of heart came after he retired from the FDA in 2000 and started getting complaints from people who suffered serious side effects from the procedure. Some doctors, however, say while they agree with the estimate that thousands of people have had problems after LASIK surgery, they stress that the vast majority of people are happy after the procedure. "Ninety-nine percent of people who have had LASIK have excellent results," said Dr. Robert Cykiert, clinical associate professor of ophthalmology at NYU Langone Medical Center.
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