A grieving family have spoken out about the potential complications of laser eye surgery after their son took his own life having suffered 20 years of unbearable pain in his eyes.
Paul Fitzpatrick, from Ontario, Canada, suffered headaches and described a feeling like needles in his eyes after undergoing a procedure to sharpen his vision in 1996.
The father-of-two left a suicide note when he took his own life in October and said he could not experience any type of pleasure anymore.
It read: "Just the pain of burning eyes inside of my head and throughout myself.
"Since 1996 pain, pain and more pain. Please forgive me for not being strong enough to cope. The past few months have been unbearable."
The 56-year-old began to suffer from migraines and dry eyes shortly after his surgery but Canadian doctors were unable to diagnose what was causing his pain.
Desperate for answers the self-made-millionaire travelled to Europe and the US to find a specialist who could help.
He began treatments and underwent more surgeries which only made the pain worse.
Paul’s parents Gene and Christine Fitzpatrick spoke to CTV about their son.
Christine said: "We didn’t know what to do for him. We would recommend pain killers and he would take some.
"He wasn’t one to take pain killers much, but when they wore off he said the pain was worse so he’d keep his eyes closed most of the time."
Gene said his son had researched the procedure – photorefractive keratectomy (PKR) – and said he felt it was safer because there was less cornea used.
PKR was the first form of laser eye surgery and involves removing the thing, top layer of the eye and discarding it before the underlying corneal tissue is reshaped using a laser in order to sharpen vision.
Now his family believe he suffered from a rare, yet severe condition known as corneal neuralgia – although he never received a diagnosis for it.
Corneal neuralgia can cause nerve damage to the eye causing excruciating pain.
According to CTV, Paul’s death is the first documented suicide linked to laser eye surgery in Canada.
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