Smoke and Mirrors in the Operating Room

Here's how one service department supervisor for Bausch & Lomb described the way that TLC runs their operating rooms: 

About TLC? MicroKeratome returned for service from TLC were some of the worst kept medical devices imaginable. Dirty and beat up by a group of doctors that share equipment like you rent bowling shoes. The problem with a group of people sharing the use of delicate equipment is that nobody cares about its upkeep. Units were treated like tools, wrenches and screwdrivers, and tossed around like the toolbox in the trunk of your car. The people at TLC were the worst to deal with. Demanding quick fixes to destroyed equipment and the blame was always the equipment never the user.

Here's how one medical devices engineer described TLC's attitude toward improving their surgical technology.

I really understand your point. I am with BioShape, you might have heard about our company.  We have developed a measuring device to measure the cornea during refractive surgery.  So already during the surgery we can detect misscorrections.  You would not believe how Dr. Machat and Mr. [Dr.] Slade (lasik-Inventor) behaved, when they visited us in 1999. They tried to give the information to us, that they are everytime doing 100% perfect surgeries and they do not need an realtime control of their work. 

We then started our first clinical trials with other doctors who were well known and still saying that there are some problems with the surgery.  They were more than happy because we showed exactly what the surgery result was in comparison to what was intended. Approx. from end of 2002 the measuring device will be part of the excimer laser. One of our fist goals will be to make sure that those are corrected that were done wrong the first time.

Given these examples of TLC's use of shoddy equipment, how does TLC present a positive appearance of their operating room to prospective patients?   Unfortunately, TLC has resorted to hiding what really goes on in their operating rooms through the use of LASIK "smiley" markers and  the Probst LASIK sponge.

Lasik markers are used to assist with the repositioning of the flap.  The "smiley" lasik marker invented by TLC's Dr. Louis Probst in Chicago, is promoted as an "asset to any LASIK practice that uses an observation area, as the patient's family is always surprised and happy to see the 'smiley' face appear on the cornea after it has been marked".  This is a prime example of TLC's focus on the marketing of lasik, rather than on producing high quality outcomes.
Dr. Probst also invented the "Probst LASIK Sponge".  Dr. Probst states that the advantage of this sponge is that it "also masks the bleeding so it does not disturb the observing family members".