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‘Something was not right’: Family of beloved meteorologist who killed herself says laser eye surgery left her withdrawn and depressed

The family of Fox 2’s popular meteorologist Jessica Starr, who took her own life two month ago, spoke out for the first time this week since her tragic death.

While speaking with Good Morning America (GMA) on Wednesday, Jessica’s husband, Dan Rose, told host Paula Faris that Starr became depressed after having Lasik eye surgery in October. Two months later, the mother of two took her own life inside her Detroit area home. Rose said there was nothing else to “attribute it to” aside her eye surgery.

“She really knew something was not right within a matter of days,” Dan explained. “She started to complain of incredibly dry eyes. She had almost no night vision. She had starbursts that she was seeing during the day and at night.”

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Jessica’s mother, Carol Starr, added that her daughter lost 25 pounds following the surgery. Carol said Jessica admitted she couldn’t eat or sleep, and didn’t think she would recover after the eye surgery.

The family said Jessica had contemplated the surgery for months beforehand, and a physician told her she’d be a good candidate. She later contacted additional doctors and a therapist for more opinions.

Dan said he looked back on what happened after Jessica’s surgery, and realized she started withdrawing from life shortly after the procedure. Family members added that she never displayed that kind of behavior until after the surgery.

“I was going to dinner by myself with the kids. I was taking the kids to the movies by myself, in the sense of she started to withdraw from life,” Dan said.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, after Jessica had Lasik SMILE eye surgery, she often spoke publicly on her continuously struggle with dry eyes, which caused her to miss work for weeks at the Detroit FOX station.

“Yesterday was a struggle for me. I really wanted to come back but need more time to recover. Please keep me in your thoughts during this challenging time,” Jessica tweeted in November.

The New York Times reports that although the majority of people who have Lasik eye surgery recover and go on to lead normal lives with better vision, others aren’t as lucky.

In 2008, numerous people, along with families of those who took their lives following laser surgery, expressed their frustrations during a meeting with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many of the attendees claimed that after receiving Lasik surgery, extreme pain and impaired vision caused people to miss work and miss out on life events, leading to chronic depression, social isolation, and in some instances, suicide.

Colin Dorrian’s family attended the FDA meeting on his behalf, after the man committed suicide following Lasik eye surgery. Dorian, 28, of Pennsylvania, was a patent attorney and aspiring medical student when he took his own life in 2007, years after the surgery. His father, Gerald, said his son left a note behind stated he would not “continue facing this horror” after living with pain and complications in the years following the surgery.

“If I cannot get my eyes fixed, I’m going to kill myself,” Colin reportedly wrote in a note that authorities found on his body. “I just cannot accept the fact that I’m supposed to live like this…I have other problems like most people do. But this is something else,” he wrote. “As soon as my eyes went bad, I fell into a deeper depression than I had ever experienced, and I never really came out of it.”

In another instance, Martha Walton, of North Carolina, stated she developed chronic, extreme pain due to eye dryness after the surgery. The pain was so intense that Walton attempted to take her own life.

“I was in so much pain. Twenty-four hours a day there was no escape. The only relief I could think of was to end my life. At least the pain would be over.”

Experts said that not all people should get Lasik eye surgery. People are typically advised against if certain pre-existing problems or other factors exist. Colin was advised he was not a good candidate, according to his family, but went through with the surgery regardless.

According to Lasik MD Vision, people under the age of 18 and over the age of 40 may not be good candidates. Other people who may not be good candidate Lasik eye surgery can include:

  • Those with “dry eye syndrome”
  • Pregnant women
  • People with  diabetes, autoimmune disease, or collagen vascular disease
  • People with other forms of eye problems, such as myopia or  hyperopia
  • Those with a history of depression
  • Unstable vision caused by medication

Some Laser eye surgeons, including Dr. Steven C. Schallhorn, don’t feel eye surgery is what causes depression. Scallhorn, former former head of the Navy Refractive Surgery Center in San Diego, indicated that people who have depression following the procedure are typically “psychologically troubled”  prior to surgery.

There’s no cause and effect,” Scallhorn told the Seattle Times.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for  free and confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 800-273-8255, or text 741-741.

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[Feature Photo: Jessica Starr/Facebook, Twitter]