Prof. Lising’s wife blinded by botched LASIK
Posted Oct. 24, 2008
Lesley Michaels
News/Web Editor

Lissa Lising – wife of Ian Lising, assistant professor of speech communication – discovered just how wrong a regular medical procedure can go when she was rendered partially blind in her right eye following corrective vision surgery.

Lissa Lising, an attorney, made the decision to seek the surgery at LASIK first in Hawthorne in Decem­ber, where she recalls being rushed through a large group of patients, eager to have the procedure before the holidays.

For more information on this story, see "LASIK article requires elaboration,"
Oct. 31

Lising cites miscommunication and a hurried schedule of patients as reasons for why her surgery failed.

“The doctor never explained to me what to expect from the procedure,” Lising said.

The procedure is supposed to be done one individual eye at a time, separated by a few months for evaluation. Lising knew nothing of this policy, since her doctor performed on both eyes.

Lising also recalls the Web site misleading clients into thinking it is a painless, safe and hassle-free procedure.

Though Lising recalls signing a disclaimer, it mentioned nothing about machine malfunctions, which raised suspicions.

According to Lising, a fail-safe stopper was not installed on the machine, which would prevent the needle from penetrating through more than one layer of her eye.

When Lising was approached by the machine, she was unsure of what was happening and hunched over into the machine in nervousness, resulting in severe cornea damage.

“If a patient is scared or unsure of what to do during a procedure, a responsible doctor should turn off the machine and consult the patient,” Lising said.

According to Lising, the only words the doctor expressed to her upon seeing Lising’s pain was, “Oh shit,” not words Lising or any patient would be enthused to hear.

Currently, Lising is awaiting a cornea transplant from an exact eye match donor.

The Lisings have hired a medical malpractice attorney and are seeking damages to cover the cost of the surgery.

“She can see shadows and shapes in her right eye, and the clinic told her that her sight would return in a few months. In actuality, it has become worse,” Lising said of his wife.

The Lisings attribute a stressful year to the negative physical and career repercussions from the surgery.

Not all eye surgeries result in misfortune, but all of them should require due diligence in researching and finding a qualified doctor.

Registrar Marilyn Davies went to Pomona Valley Community Hospital to have cataracts removed.

“Eye surgery is a serious procedure,” Davies said. “You know when you go in that the damage may not be reversible.”

Though Davies reports a success story for her surgery, she insists that patients should perform extensive research prior to a procedure.

“Not all places are safe,” Davies said. “You must research the doctor, the success of the surgery and recommendations of the clinic.”

The Lisings agree that research and instincts are vital.

“Any time you go under the care of another person it is helpful to know they care about you as much as you care about yourself,” Lising said, speaking of his wife’s experience. “If you have a bad vibe, listen to your instincts and walk away.”

Lesley Michaels can be reached at

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