A Canadian man reportedly took his own life after suffering intolerable pain that was apparently caused by laser eye surgery.
Ontario father of two and self-made millionaire Paul Fitzpatrick, 56, died in October, but his family claimed it was out of desperation to end the suffering caused by surgery complications, CTV reported.
After enduring debilitating eye pain for more than two decades, an Ontario man took his own life in what his family says…
The CTV report said he suffered from a complication known as corneal neuralgia, which can cause nerve damage to the eye and can cause severe pain.
Fitzpatrick’s family said he may have suffered from it for more than 20 years. He never got it diagnosed.
“He had always worn glasses, maybe since he was about 12 and he just thought it would be great not to have them,” Christine Fitzpatrick, his mother, told the network.
She said he got laser eye surgery called photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) back in 1996 when he was 32. The procedure is different than the now-popular Lasik eye surgery.
“He researched it and he made sure that he was going to the best place. He felt the PRK was safer because there was less cornea used,” she said.
While a number of patients who get laser eye surgery don’t suffer from side-effects, Fitzpatrick said he did for a long time. “It ruined his life, and it also left a lot of people around him suffering,” Paul’s father Gene told CTV.
“The burning pain in his eyes, the needles in his eyes, that was how he described the pain,” Kevin Fitzpatrick, his brother, said. “Had he been aware (of his condition) … he definitely would not have continued with subsequent surgeries.”
Fitzpatrick’s family stated he began walking around with a cane and kept his eyes closed most of the time.
“We didn’t know what to do for him,” his mother said. “We would recommend painkillers and he would take some. He wasn’t one to take painkillers much, but when they wore off he said the pain was worse so … he’d keep his eyes closed most of the time.”
He left a note behind to his family. “I cannot experience any type of pleasure anymore,” he wrote. “Just the pain of burning eyes inside 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.”
Corneal Neuropathy Causes ‘Powerful’ Pain
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, citing a doctor, “The cornea is the most powerful pain generator in the human body.”
“The density of corneal pain receptors has been estimated to be 40 times that of dental pulp. He explained that the damaged nerve fibers in the cornea, the sensory fibers, cause all the symptoms, whether or not the initial disease is severe dry eye or corneal neuropathy. The intensity and constancy of corneal neuralgia can be incapacitating and even induce thoughts of suicide,” the website states.
In the United States, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255. Young people can call the Kids Help Phone on 1-800-668-6868.
In Canada, the line is 1-833-456-4566.
In Australia, the crisis support service hotline is 13 11 14 (Lifeline).
Other worldwide suicide hotlines can be found at www.befrienders.org.