While it hasn't yet been established whether the Lasik-type eye surgery a 35-year-old meteorologist had in October contributed to her Dec. 12 suicide, Jessica Starr's death is putting the surgery's rare complications into the spotlight. The Lasik SMILE surgery Starr had was approved by the FDA in 2016 and first practiced in Michigan a year later; it uses both a different laser and technique than Lasik, though an eye surgeon tells the Detroit Free-Press the two procedures are "fundamentally the same." Starr, who had been with Fox 2 Detroit since 2012, had said she was struggling with dry eye and vision issues a month after the surgery and tweeted in mid-November about it being a "struggle" and a "challenging time."
The Free-Press cites a June New York Times article that featured people who had experienced complications, among them a 35-year-old who says the aftermath is like having "paper cuts in her eyes" and a 36-year-old who likens his pain to "hot grease in my eyes, 24-7." CBS 12 speaks with Florida's Dr. Kenneth Maller, who specializes in treating those who have suffered complications. Among his past patients: a Canadian named Paul Fitzpatrick. Maller was able to mend his vision issues but not the pain; Fitzpatrick ended up committing suicide. Starr leaves behind a husband and two children, 5-year-old son Noah and 3-year-old daughter Riley. (Read more from the Times' article here.)