A woman named Erin Orchard has endured a “living hell” and experiences daily pain as a result of complications arising from a routine eye surgery. Erin, who is 35 years old, initially opted for a laser procedure to correct her short-sighted vision before her wedding. However, just 48 hours after the operation, she realized that something had gone seriously wrong, although she initially ignored the symptoms. Within a week, she sought medical help, experiencing intense pain akin to “shards of glass” in her eyes.
Erin has taken to TikTok to share her story, with her video garnering over 1.1 million views and 81,000 likes. She describes how her eyes became extremely sensitive to light, forcing her to spend days in darkened rooms and making it painful to look at screens for more than a minute or two. The pain felt like shards of glass cutting into her eyes, accompanied by a tingling sensation across her face and burning and stinging sensations. Minor triggers such as wind or air conditioning exacerbated the pain, leading her to wear protective eyewear, which attracted ridicule and caused anxiety.
Two months after the surgery, Erin received a diagnosis of bilateral post-laser corneal neuralgia, a condition resulting from nerve damage that causes pain in the eyes and head. To manage the pain, she now relies on special eye drops made from her own blood. Erin alleges that doctors dismissed her concerns and failed to disclose the risks associated with corneal neuralgia and chronic pain, leaving her feeling gaslit.
Aside from physical pain, Erin also struggles with mental health issues, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She expresses the profound impact this experience has had on her life, affecting her career aspirations, wedding plans, and dreams of starting a family. The financial burden of medical expenses has also taken a toll, eroding her savings and hindering her path to homeownership and parenthood. Erin deeply misses the trust she once had in the healthcare system.
Despite the challenges, Erin’s vision improved following the surgery, although she still requires glasses for driving and university. Determined to help others, she is studying to become an occupational therapist. Erin highlights the importance of understanding the risks associated with laser eye surgery, advocating for informed decision-making and seeking second opinions. She filed a complaint against the clinic responsible for her surgery, leading to changes in their procedures around informed consent.
Erin’s story on TikTok has resonated with viewers, many of whom expressed hesitations about undergoing similar procedures. She continues to share her journey, aiming to bring about meaningful change and support others facing similar experiences.