I got LASIK for my wedding — now I’m living in hell with pain

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Eye can’t believe this surgery nightmare. 

A nearsighted bride walked down the aisle in sheer agony, feeling as though “shards of glass” were piercing her eyeballs, after she elected to undergo laser eye surgery in the hopes of improving her vision.  

Now, the once bubbly blond is racked with chronic pain — unyielding discomfort she quells by self-administering special eye drops made from her own blood. 

“Prior to the procedure, I was in [an] excellent physical and mental state,” Erin Orchard, 35, a student from Sydney, Australia, told Jam Press

“[I was] filled with enthusiasm for my career, excitedly planning my wedding day,” she continued, “and working towards important milestones like buying my first home and starting a family.”

Erin Orchard, 35, from Sydney, Australia, revealing the discoloration of her eye post-laser eye surgery.
Erin Orchard has gone viral on TikTok, sharing the grisly truth about the ongoing pain she’s endured since undergoing laser eye surgery in January 2019.
Jam Press/Erin Orchard

However, since undergoing the botched operation in January 2019, Orchard has been “living in hell.”

“I have had to navigate through the grieving process, letting go of the life I had envisioned for myself,” she said, adding that the ordeal has “reshaped my identity and significantly altered the course of my life.”

Orchard virally shared the pangs of her medical trauma with her more than 12,000 TikTok followers, raising awareness about the risks of the voluntary surgery with cautionary videos that have garnered upwards of 8 million views.

In one clip, titled “Laser eye surgery ruined my life,” Orchard explained that just 48 hours after having LASIK — another name for the procedure, during which specialists use a blade or laser to cut a flap into the cornea to remove excess tissue — she began experiencing “excruciating pain.”

Orchard told Jam Press that she immediately knew something had gone “very wrong” during her surgery. 

“My eyes were so sensitive to light that I spent many days sitting in a darkened room, and it hurt to look at the phone or computer screens for more than a minute or two,” she recalled.

“The pain felt like shards of glass slicing into my eyes, and I had a pins and needles sensation across my face, as well as burning and stinging.”

The slightest change in the atmosphere would send her wincing in agony.

“Even minor environmental triggers, such as wind or air condition, caused heightened levels of pain that felt unbearable,” said Orchard. 

Erin Orchard, 35, from Sydney, Australia, wearing her protective eyewear after undergoing laser eye surgery.
After undergoing LASIK, Orchard was forced to wear oversized protective glasses to shield her ailing eyes from the elements.
Jam Press/Erin Orchard

“I was forced to wear large protective eyewear to minimize the impact,” she added. “I was often made fun of for wearing the eyewear in public settings, which became a source of anxiety and stress.” 

Orchard was ultimately diagnosed with bilateral post-laser corneal neuralgia — a condition that causes pain in the eyes and face due to nerve damage in the corneas. It’s one of the many risks of LASIK.

In fact, in 2019, a former Food and Drug Administration adviser argued that the surgery should be “banned” as a practice, owing to its many complications.

Orchard says she wasn’t informed of the dangers of the procedure and felt “gaslit” by her surgeon after receiving his grim prognosis.

“I was highly distressed when I was initially diagnosed, and I remember leaving the appointment with tears streaming down my face,” she said. “I was filled with fear upon discovering that the pain I had been enduring would persist as an ongoing issue, without the prospect of a cure.”

Erin Orchard, 35, from Sydney, Australia, in a hospital bed after undergoing a botched laser eye surgery procedure.
Orchard revealed that the many medical issues she endured since undergoing LASIK has nearly depleted the funds in her savings account.
Jam Press/Erin Orchard

Her physical torment is compounded by the post traumatic stress disorder she’s suffered since the flubbed treatment, as well as the financial distress she now faces.

“The savings I had carefully accumulated for purchasing a home quickly dwindled as I faced mounting medical expenses,” lamented Orchard. 

“The medications I rely on to manage my condition have created an obstacle to starting a family, further impacting my hopes of becoming a parent,” she said, adding that she’s also developed a deep distrust of the healthcare system. 

Erin Orchard, 35, from Sydney, Australia, wearing a medical eye mask after undergoing a botched laser eye surgery procedure.
On TikTok, Orchard urges her more than 12,000 followers to carefully research their cosmetics surgeons, as well as the risks that come with their desired procedures, before opting to have surgery.
Jam Press/Erin Orchard

Her countless woes notwithstanding, Orchard got married in the midst of her recovery process. But the belle’s big day wasn’t without torture. 

“Fortunately, we went ahead with our wedding day despite seriously contemplating its cancellation for a while,” she said. 

A team of physicians concocted a blend of pharmaceuticals that aided in her comfort during her holy matrimony.   

“To ensure I could manage the day, my pain specialist, [general practitioner] and ophthalmologist collaborated to develop a medication plan,” said Orchard. “I still experienced significant pain and needed some time to recover, but it was a beautiful day.” 

Erin Orchard, 35, from Sydney, Australia, with her husband.
Orchard credited her husband, friends and family with supporting her through the “darkest moments” of her post-LASIK life.
Jam Press/Erin Orchard

With the support of her husband, loved ones and a small army of doctors, Orchard is on the mend. And although her sight has improved since the surgery, she still has to wear her glasses.

Orchard is now urging folks online to take extreme precautions before gambling with their eye health. 

“Educate yourself on risks and complications, consider long-term implications,” she encouraged. “Don’t discard your glasses too soon, ensure your surgeon is equipped to handle complications, and seek a second opinion if needed.” 

And laser eye surgery patient wannabes on TikTok seem to be seeing things Orchard’s way.  

“Wow glad I saw this. I’ll keep my contacts and glasses. Thanks for sharing,” wrote a commenter. 

“My lasik left me with chronic dry eyes and after five years I needed glasses again. Was way too young when I got it [at 21],” another confessed. 

“I have had Lasik surgery done about 3.5 years ago and I get eye infections all the time now,” admitted a fellow patient. “I think because my eyes are always so dry.”

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